By Santosh Ghimire
New Delhi, Sep 20: Nepal and India are all set to begin the construction of a new motorable bridge over the Mahakali River in a bid to increase trade and connectivity between two neighbouring countries and bring the already vibrant social relations between two societies further closer.
On Monday, a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the motorable bridge was jointly held by both sides.
In Nepal, Commerce Minister Dilendra Prasad Badu laid the foundation stone for the project while Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand did the same in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
Addressing the programme, the Nepali minister thanked the government of India for extending grant assistance to build the cross-border bridge. He believed the bridge construction will help bring prosperity to remote areas in Nepal's Sudurpaschim Province that shares a border with India.
"This motorable bridge will link people living in remote villages of Sudurpaschim Province of Nepal with people in India's Uttarakhand. It symbolises a deep people-to-people connection between the two countries," Minister Badu said at the event which was attended by local government officials, politicians and residents.
Once completed, the cross-border bridge will help better connect Nepal's Darchula district with Dharchula town in India's northern state of Uttarakhand. The project will be built under India's grant assistance as per the agreement signed between the two governments in February this year.
This project is being executed by Uttarakhand Public Works Department at an estimated cost of INR 33 crores, according to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.
Bidhyanath Adhikari, a local resident, said that the bridge will help them to export local agricultural products and medicinal herbs to Indian towns including Pithoragarh.
"We are happy to see that the bridge construction is starting very soon. We hope it will lead us to prosperity in future," he told India Narrative over the phone on Tuesday.
In a press statement, Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said that the project will augment cross-border connectivity between the Sudurpaschim province of Nepal and the Uttarakhand state of India where close people-to-people links exist between communities on both sides of the border across the Mahakali River.
"This is in line with the commitment of both the governments to strengthen cross-border connectivity for encouraging commercial, cultural and people-to-people exchanges," read the statement.
In a brief comment on Twitter, India's former ambassador to Nepal said that the groundbreaking ceremony of the much-awaited project was good news. "Excellent news. Will be a boon for people on both sides of the border," he tweeted.
The construction of the 110-m long bridge is expected to be completed in one year, according to the embassy.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)
( 460 Words)