KATHMANDU, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The long-term opening maintenance project of Nepal's Arniko Highway, the oldest and shortest route that connects the two neighbors Nepal and China, has been completed.
The official handover ceremony of the project was held in the capital city on Friday amid the presence of government officials, officials of Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu and technical team of the construction company.
The delivery and acceptance certificate was exchanged between Secretary at Nepali Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Dhana Bahadur Tamang and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong in the presence of Nepali Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak.
Nepal government highly appreciated the assistance and continued support of China in the re-operation of Arniko highway that highly contributes to the socio-economic development of the country.
Dhana Bahadur Tamang, Secretary at Nepali Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport said, "The damage of this highway by great earthquake and monsoon rain had been critical for the movement of goods and people from one country to another. From this long term opening maintenance of the highway, it has been again possible to reinstate the original service of the highway."
The repaired highway has been expected to revive the economy and normal activities of locals of Sindhupalchowk, China bordering district.
Arniko Highway was built in 1960s with the support of Chinese government. The 115-kilometer long road is the historical route that connects capital city Kathmandu with Nepal-China border at Kodari.
The highway was the lifeline for cross-border trading and for thousands of locals living in the region until it suffered severe damages in the devastating earthquake of 2015. Though the highway was repaired twice by the support of Chinese armed police after the disaster, it could not operate well due to fragile geography, especially torrential rain falls and frequent disasters like flood and landslides.
The current maintenance project has been carried out by the China Railway Bureau 14 in five sections of highway. It took five and half months for the Chinese company to make the highway ready for the smooth transportation.
The Chinese government has pledged to continue its support for post disaster reconstruction of Nepal.
"We are committed to provide assistance for Nepal's post-disaster reconstruction in five sectors namely infrastructures, livelihood in mountains, cultural relic's renovation, disaster preparedness and health. Strengthening infrastructure connectivity and mutual cooperation under One Belt One Road initiative are common wishes of both countries", Yu Hong, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal said in the function.
Since the Arniko highway was disrupted after disaster and the border remained closed, Nepali traders are using the Rasuwagadhi border point currently for cross-border trading.