Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Modi, Oli Lay Foundation Stone of Arun III Hydropower Project

File A National Assembly meeting File A National Assembly meeting
Lillian Steele | 12 May, 2018, 14:22

Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Nepal on Friday that it topped India's Neighbourhood First policy as he announced a Rs100 crore package to develop the Hindu pilgrimage city of Janakpur.

Besides focusing on rail connectivity, the Indian Prime Minister will inaugurate the Arun-III hydro-electric project, which is expected to generate 900 megawatts of electricity. The bus service is part of the Ramayan Circuit, which promotes religious tourism within Nepal and India.

The two leaders also discussed implementation of various India assisted projects in Nepal and chose to bridge the implementation gap in some of the projects, the foreign secretary said.

Talking to reporters Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot said " As there is a model code of conduct in Karnataka, PM Modi planned to pray at temples in Nepal instead, just to influence voters. Modi deserves credit for proactively pursuing relations with Kathmandu and also revamping the moribund Indian Foreign Office.

The Nepal government will receive benefits worth Nepali Rupees 348 billion from the project as royalty, income tax, customs tariff and free energy in the concession period of 25 years.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was originally planned for April when Oli visited New Delhi, but it was put off after Nepal said preparatory work had not been completed.

"India stands firmly with our sisters and brothers of Nepal".

Coming just months after the devastating April 2015 quake, this fuelled anti-India sentiments in Nepal. "We have been there for each other in the most hard of times", Modi said at a civic reception by the Janakpur Sub-Metropolitan City at Barhabigha ground here. Neighbours have always been our top priority.

"In our today's talks, we discussed the initiatives started between the two countries in agriculture, inland waterways, and railways. There were also deliberations to improve trade ties". The two sides had extensive discussion on all aspects of our bilateral relationship and expressed firm commitment to take it to newer heights.

Ahead of his visit, Modi had said India would remain a steadfast partner of the Himalayan nation in its quest for growth and development. PM Oli and I talked about ways to increase our cultural linkages, especially through the development of Ramayana and Buddhist tourist circuits.

After his stump-speech-like address, Modi moved to Kathmandu for the official leg of his two-day visit.

"We are committed to support Prime Minister Oli's vision that Nepal should not be a land-locked country but a land- and water-linked nation", he said.

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