Shrestha for TIA system upgrade with national resources
KATHMANDU, Dec 21: While expressing reservation over the plan of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and a few of his cabinet colleagues to hand over the works related to modernization of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) immigration system to India, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has suggested senior home ministry officials to make necessary preparations to do the job with national resources.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha made the suggestion to Home Secretary Nabin Kumar Ghimire and other senior officials during a meeting at the MoFA Thursday afternoon.
Home Ministry had earlier forwarded a proposal concerning the handover of modernization and upgradation of TIA immigration system to India for a ´final consideration´.
Sources said Shrestha had argued that since the work related to immigration system in the country´s only international airport is matter of national security concerns, such works should not be awarded to foreign countries or agencies. “Nepal government should itself invest in the upgradation and maintenance of the immigration system no matter how huge the cost,” he argued.
Indian side in its Detailed Project Report (DPR) had agreed to extend Rs 186.4 million for immigration system upgradation and modernization at the TIA.
Though the DPR as prescribed by Indian side was rejected several times in the past during Nepal-India home secretary level talks citing a matter of ´national sensitivity´, Office of the Prime Minister had lately taken up the issue apparently to appease India.
During Thursday´s meeting with home ministry officials, Shrestha, who is also Minister for Local Development, had argued that he would help manage the cost from the budget allocated for the local development ministry. “Please make necessary preparations to do the job with national resource,” a source quoted Shrestha as saying.
Officials at home ministry said Shrestha was in favor of giving only certain section of the works, even if it is deemed necessary to hand over the job to India, but not the entire project as proposed in the DPR.
“With a foreign ministry´s reservation, the DPR of the immigration system is all set to be shelved yet again,” said an official at the ministry.
Talking to Republica, Shrestha said the MoFA has already registered its reservation over handing over the TIA immigration upgradation works to India. “Of course, we should address the genuine concerns raised by India. We should upgrade and modernize the immigration system for our own national security as well. And this should be done by Nepal itself,” he said.