India agreed in 2009 to support the establishment of ICPs in Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj customs points on the Nepali side with designs similar to those in the Indian side of the respective customs points.
Both neighbors had agreed to develop ICPs to facilitate bi-lateral trade through the Biratnagar-Jogbani, Birgunj-Raxaul, Bhairahawa-Sunauli and Nepalgunj- Rupaidiha entry points.
“The construction of ICPs has already begun in Birgunj and land acquisition for the other proposed ICPs has been completed,” Nabaraj Dhakal, the under-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), said on Thursday.
Indian officials have estimated the construction in both sides of Biratnagar-Jogbani customs to cost IRs 1.20 billion, in Birguni-Raxaul customs to cost IRs 340 million, Bhairahawa-Sunauli customs to cost IRs 340 million and Nepalgunj-Rupaidiha customs to cost IRs 290 million.
The 11th five-year plan of India has envisioned constructing 13 ICPs along the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan in a bid to facilitate bi-lateral trade.
The planned ICPs would house all regulatory agencies like immigration, customs and border security along with support facilities like parking, warehousing, banking and hotels under a single complex equipped with all modern facilities.
The ICPs are envisaged to provide all facilities required to enable smooth cross-border movement of individuals, vehicles and goods under an integrated complex. These would facilitate the processes of immigration, customs, security, and quarantine, among others.
Passenger terminal buildings, currency exchanges, internet, cargo process buildings, cargo inspection sheds, quarantine laboratories, clearing agents, scanners and surveillance through security cameras are also among the facilities to be available at the ICPs.
India has already constructed ICPs in Jogbani, Raxaul, Sunauli and Rupaidiha on its side.
India has also completed an ICP at the Attari customs of Amritsar, opposite Pakistan’s Waga customs in 2012.
Nepali commerce and customs officials had recently conducted a visit to Attari to study the ICP’s impact on trade. “We found an impressive rise in trade along the Attari-Waga border due to the enhanced facilities,” Dhakal said.