Kathmandu, February 24
The detailed feasibility study of the much-hyped 75-kilometre-long Trans Himalayan Kathmandu-Kyirong railway will start from March, according to the Department of Railways (DoRW). A joint study team of Nepali and Chinese engineers are scheduled to start the detailed feasibility study and also the detailed project report from next month.
Besides Nepali engineers and the local consultant, the study team will comprise more than 40 core technical Chinese engineers from the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group. The feasibility study will be started simultaneously from Kathmandu, Nuwakot and Kyirong.
The government had earlier sent 14 Nepali engineers to China to study about the electrified railway system. They have also been included in the team.
According to Balaram Mishra, director general of DoRW, the joint team comprising officials of both the countries will conduct the detailed feasibility study and detailed project report simultaneously. “After completing the detailed feasibility study and engineering design, the joint team will finalise the design and the exact cost of the railway project.”
“We have planned to start conducting the detailed feasibility study from Tokha of Kathmandu, Nuwakot and Kyirong simultaneously,” Mishra
informed. The joint team will study the rock foundation, soil structure and possible alignment, among other aspects.
Earlier, a joint team comprising the Nepali and Chinese consultants had submitted the pre-feasibility report of the railway project on August 10. The report had stated that the Trans Himalayan cross-border electrified railway project is feasible. Since then, both the nations have already held three rounds of discussions.
The government had earlier proposed to the Chinese government to conduct the detailed feasibility study and detailed project report of the project through Chinese investment. The Chinese government has agreed to the proposal and has said it will bear all the cost that is incurred for the study.
As per the pre-feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Kyirong railway, the project is estimated to cost about Rs 275 billion, according to an initial field study conducted in November, 2017 by a Chinese technical team. The study had further mentioned that around 98.55 per cent section of the railway would be covered by tunnels and bridges. However, the cost and other issues of Kathmandu-Pokhara and Pokhara-Lumbini sections have not been estimated yet.
The planned railway network from China has currently reached Shigatse, the Tibetan autonomous region and it is expected to reach Kyirong by 2022. Kyirong is located at a distance of 540 kilometres from Shigatse.
A version of this article appears in print on February 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.