China hands over Araniko highway to Nepal after repair

KATHMANDU: China has handed over the Araniko highway to Nepal after repairing it.

The 114 kilometres long highway from Kathmandu to Tatopani of Sindhupalchok district was damaged at five different places by the April 25, 2015 devastating earthquake, disrupting vehicular movement.

The highway was repaired with Chinese grant assistance equivalent to Rs 760 million.

Ambassador of China to Nepal, Ms Yu Hong, handed over papers related to the highway repair to Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Dhana Bahadur Tamang, at a ceremony held at the Ministry here today.

The Chinese government’s construction company – China Railway Sisuju Group Corporation – had repaired the highway at the 83, 100, 103, 112 and 114 kilometres points.

Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ramesh Lekhak and the Minister of State Sitaram Mahato were present in the paper handover ceremony.

Addressing the function, secretary Tamang expressed the belief that Chinese support in the repair of the trans-Himalayan highway connecting Nepal and China would be continued.

Chinese ambassador Yu said the highway repair is one of the areas among others that the China has assisted Nepal in the post-earthquake reconstruction.

Ministry joint secretary Bishnu Om Bade said the highway needed to be repaired at other sections also besides the five places it has been repaired. He added that discussions were on whether to seek Chinese assistance for carrying out the repair at the remaining points or the government itself undertaking it.

The Araniko Highway was constructed in 1960 with the grant assistance of China.

Although the highway was repaired at different places following the Gorkha Earthquake, the section of the highway up to the Chinese trading town Khasa is still non-operational. Bulk of the Nepal-China trade takes place through this transit point. It is hoped that the transit point would be opened after the highway is completely repaired.

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