KATHMANDU: Officials of Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NICCI) and North East Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) held a meeting at NICCI Secretariat, in Naxal, Kathmandu, on Thursday.
NICCI President Shreejana Rana, who chaired the meeting, welcomed all the members of the NEDFi and briefly informed them about NICCI, its establishment, objective, work done in past, work being done at present as well as the future work plans of the organisation.
Rana, who has tourism background, further informed the Indian team that NICCI on June 6, 2018, facilitated organising second Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting of Nepal and India where the government representatives as well as the private stakeholders from both countries participated and discussed the points on Leave Travel Concession, Overland Travel issues-Air connectivity/Road Connectivity, Joint Promotion of Tourism between Nepal and India developing Religious Circuits in both the countries and agreed to promote joint tourism promotion between the two countries. Meanwhile, the NICCI has worked on developing a coffee table book on religious circuits for the promotion of tourism between Nepal and India, Rana further informed the Indian team. She also informed that NICCI has constituted nine different working committees to look after the issues of different sectors.
NICCI President Rana apprised the Indian team of the prospects, opportunities and challenges in various sectors and trade between the two countries. “As we have huge potential in hydropower projects, infrastructure, SMEs-agriculture, tourism among other sectors, the collaboration in these sectors could be beneficial to investors as well as governments of both the countries,” she emphasized.
On the occasion, Rajan Sharma, Convener of Trade and Transit Committee highlighted the issues related to Trade and Transit. “At present, the custodian right of Nepali goods is in the hands of the Indian clearing agents. This is a big problem as the legal provisions shift the liability to the clearing agent and therefore, dispute arises as the clearing agent cannot claim money from Importers of Nepal and can always shift the problem,” Sharma said.
He suggested that there should be provisions to involve the Nepali freight forwards and hold them liable with agency cooperation between customs house agents (CHA) and Nepali freight forwarders. He mentioned that the electronic cargo tracking system between India and Nepal is of no use and involves at least INRs 3,400 per container. This is too expensive and Nepali importers should not be made to pay such charges for tracking the transit cargo within Indian Territory, he asserted.
Convener of Energy Committee Batu Lamichhane also highlighted the current status of power generation, power trade status between Nepal and India. Lamichhane informed that during the wet season, Nepal generates 3,339 Mega Watt (MW) of electric power (in 2022) on which it has a surplus of 1,205MW. Last monsoon Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) exported 364MW power to India and Nepal has plans and policies to develop more than 10,000 power by next decade, he said adding the potential demand is less than the potential supply and India has been fulfilling 50% of the demand of power by generating through coal base energy. He opined, ”If the power could be supplied to India from Nepal, the coal-based power could be replaced in India. “There is a huge prospect in power sector, and for that, there are big opportunities for the Indian investors to come and invest in hydropower projects in Nepal,” Lamichhane said.
The Indian delegation included NEDFi Chairman and Managing Director PVSLN Murty, NEDFi Executive Director SK Baruh, Senior Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Mahendra P Lama; Senior Consultant at NEDFi, Abhijit Kumar Bezbarua and Manager at NEDFi, Abhisek Lama. Other members of NICCI present in the meeting were Vice President Harkirat Singh Bedi, Secretary General Ramesh Sharma, Co-convener of SME Committee Dammar Khanal, Director General Keshab Man Singh, Deputy Director Marshal Rathour, Consultant Luja Mathema.