KATHMANDU, Oct 6: The government has started holding consultation with the concerned stakeholders on the proposal sent by the Indian government in a bid to expedite the works of Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed Kathmandu-Raxaul railway.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has forwarded a draft proposal sent by the Indian government to various stakeholders for their consent, according to officials at the Department of Railways.
Earlier last month, the Indian government sent the proposal to the MoFA seeking permission of Nepali authorities to conduct a detailed study of the Kathmandu-Railway rail link. India has proposed Konkan Railway Corporation, a union government company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, to prepare the DPR of the project.
Officials said the Indian government has assured Nepali authorities to fully follow health and safety protocols while carrying out the study. Nepal, however, has delayed responding to the proposal citing COVID-19 pandemic and health risks associated with it.
Nepal and India had agreed to expedite the construction of the railway project connecting Kathmandu to Raxaul at the Nepal-India border. The agreement was formalized after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) to this effect on the sideline of the 4th summit of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) held in Kathmandu on August 30-31, 2018.
The length of the Kathmandu-Raxaul electric railway will be 219 km with a double track and 135.87 km with a single track, according to the preliminary report. The report shows that 892 hectares of land including 13 stations and 39 tunnels will be required for the railway construction.
The Indian government in its budget for 2020-21 has allocated necessary funds for the construction of the project. The electric railway link is estimated to cost around Rs 300 billion. It will run from the site of the proposed second international airport in Nijgadh after passing through Jipur of Bara district.
Once the DPR gets finalized, it will take five years to lay down the railway track from the start date, as per the department’s officials.