Nepal and India have agreed to seal an agreement for preliminary engineering cum traffic survey for building a rail link that will connect Raxual in Bihar to the Nepalese capital, weeks after Nepal and China agreed on a feasibility study for a railway line connecting Tibet with the Himalayan nation. Nepal and India had agreed to construct railway line linking Raxaul with Kathmandu during Prime Minister K P Oli Sharma’s visit to India.
Apart from Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line, India has already started building five cross-border railway lines between Nepal and India. One line from Jayanagar to Janakpur-Kurtha will be completed within a year. Senior government officials from Nepal and India on Monday agreed to seal the Memorandum of Understanding of the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail line as soon as possible. India has despatched the text of the MoU of Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line.
During the meeting both sides agreed to put concerted efforts and resolve all issues expeditiously, to complete the railway lines from Jayanagar to Janakpur-Kurtha and from Jogbani to Biratnagar Customs Yard by the October 2018 timeline, the Kathmandu Post reported. Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) Joint Secretary Keshab Kumar Sharma and India’s Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary (DPA-III) Namgya Khampa took part in the meeting.
The meeting also agreed to take forward work in the remaining stretches of the two rail projects from Kurtha-Bijalpura-Bardibas and from Biratnagar Customs Yard-Biratnagar sections on priority, according to the statement. The meeting appreciated the work undertaken in the final location survey (FLS) for the remaining three rail links, New Jalpaiguri-Kakarbhitta, Nautanwa-Bhairahawa, and Nepalgunj Road-Nepalgunj which are to be implemented under Phase-II.
An Indian team has conducted the first round of survey for the railway. “The Nepali side has conveyed its deep appreciation for the support of Government of India in the development of the India-Nepal cross-border rail links, which would enhance people-to-people linkages between the two countries and promote economic growth and development in the region.
“The India side expressed its appreciation for the government of Nepal’s commitment to expeditiously resolve all the outstanding issues including making available remaining land required for completion of the ongoing rail link projects,” the statement said. China and Nepal have agreed to build a strategic railway link connecting Tibet with Kathmandu, which Nepalese Prime Minister Oli sees as an alternative trade route for supply of commodities to the landlocked Himalayan nation.
The detailed project planning report (DPR) of the Kerung-Kathmandu rail line would be completed in one-and-a-half years or so. China has been building rail, road and air links in the remote Tibet spending billions of dollars. During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal in May, Oli had said the two countries have agreed to expedite implementation of all pending projects of bilateral cooperation by Nepal’s Constitution Day in September.