Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Janakpur, the revered Hindu religious site in Nepal, has not yet been officially cancelled despite reports about the trip being called off due to opposition by some political parties, the government here said on Friday.
Preparations were going on for the visit till today afternoon in Janakpur, an ancient city said to be the birthplace of Sita, situated 250 kms south of Kathmandu.
"We are still busy in the preparation works as we have not received any official information about the cancellation of the visit, either from the Ministry of External Affairs, India or from the Embassy of India in Kathmandu," Home Secretary Surya Prasad Silwal told PTI over phone from Janakpur, where he is visiting to oversee security and other arrangements for Modi's proposed visit.
"We have been preparing for his special pooja at Ram Janaki Temple, and his public felicitation programme and also the security arrangements," he said adding that all necessary preparations are on in full swing.
Modi will be leaving India on November 25 to attend the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 26-27.
Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae told reporters here this morning that the Indian Embassy did not receive any official communication about the cancellation of Modi's visit to the pilgrimage sites, including Janakpur.
Modi was scheduled to visit Janakpur, Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and another sacred Hindu pilgrimage site, Muktinath, located in the southern mountainous region during his visit to Nepal.
There were conflicting reports about his visit to Janakpur after local political groups staged rallies and counter-rallies in Janakpur in connection with the visit.
The Unified CPN-Maoist and some Madhesi parties even threatened to establish a parallel organising committee for the visit.
The controversy started after Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam told Parliament that there was no programme about Modi addressing the people of Janakpur during his visit there.
Earlier, Nepal's Minister for Physical Infrastructure and
Transport Bimalendra Nidhi, had claimed that he had received information about cancellation of Modi's visit to Janakpur and expressed sadness for the postponement of the visit despite necessary preparations.
Nepal Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Dinesh Bhattarai told PTI that the government is ready to welcome Modi in Janakpur.
"He is our respected guest and we are fully prepared to welcome Prime Minister Modi in Janakpur. We are ready to fulfil his wish in case he visits the holy shrine," he said.
"So far, we have not received any communication about the cancellation of Modi's visit to Janakpur and other religious sites," he clarified.