MoU signed between Nepal and India for construction of Raxaul-Kathmandu Railway
Nepal and India reached an agreement on Thursday on a bilateral memorandum of understanding on the ‘Final Location Survey’ of the Raxaul-Kathmandu railway project.
A memorandum of understanding was signed on Thursday, the Indian embassy in Nepal said on Twitter. The agreement is for the construction of a cross-border (inland) broad gauge railway line between the two countries.
This is the fifth meeting of the Joint Task Force and the seventh meeting of the PSC. A meeting has been organized to study the implementation of the ongoing project to expand the railway network between the two countries in the railway sector.
Nepal was represented at the Joint Task Force and PSC meeting by Keshav Kumar Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. Similarly, on behalf of India, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Railways (Traffic Transportation Freight) Dr. Manoj Singh and Joint Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Bhushan represented the PSC meeting.
According to the Nepali side, the two sides also signed the criteria for the operation of passenger train in Jayanagar-Kurtha area.
The meeting also discussed the ongoing construction of Jayanagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar broad gauge railways, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
The meeting also discussed about Raxaul-Kathmandu Broad Gauge Railway and Phase 2 Railway Link Project. The two sides also agreed to provide technical assistance in the railway sector. It also agreed on capacity building, logistical support and training of Nepali railway employees.
In addition, the Indian side will now initiate the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed Raxaul-Kathmandu Railway. Until now, the Indian side has been working to create an environment for this. A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on March 10 authorized the Director of the Railway Department of Nepal to approve and sign the MoU.
This paved the way for the signing of the MoU on Thursday. India has been emphasizing this as broad gauge railway to Kathmandu is possible. Accordingly, a memorandum of understanding was signed after Nepal agreed. Although the Nepali side emphasized on standard gauge, the agreement was reached as India’s expertise is in broad gauge.
Meanwhile, China has been saying that it will help in the construction of railway to Kathmandu. China, on the other hand, has emphasized on the construction of standard gauge railways. But with India, broad gauge railways are expected to be built. Lately, emphasis has been laid on railway construction in Nepal. At present, the government has laid emphasis on the construction of east-west railway. In the midst of all this, the train bought by Nepal itself has been stalled for a year.
Even though two trains were brought from India in September 2020, they have not been able to operate due to lack of law. Both the trains are wrapped and covered up unused. Even the trains that came after the change of leadership after the change of power in the railway department have not been able to operate. Nepal had bought the two trains from the Indian company Konkan Railway Corporation for Rs 846.5 million.