Kathmandu, September 24
The government has planned to complete the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of East-West Electric Railway Project within November 2018. The Department of Railways (DoRW) has divided the mega project into multiple sections and is preparing the DPR.
Prakash Upadhyaya, spokesperson for DoRW, informed that it has already completed the DPR of the 108-km Bardibas-Simara section, 127-km Simara-Tansariya section and the 64-km Tansariya-Butwal section. Similarly, the DPR of the 137-km Bardibas-Inaruwa section and the 103-km Inaruwa-Kakadvitta section is being prepared, he informed.
Likewise, the process to prepare the DPR of the 115-km Butwal-Lamahi section, 102-km Kohalpur-Lamahi section, 95-km Kohalpur-Sukhad section and the 94-km Sukhad-Gaddachauki section has just begun, according to Upadhyaya.
The government has planned to complete the 945-kilometre mega project within the next five years with total investment of Rs 69.52 billion. According to Upadhyaya, the government has envisioned to construct additional 1,500 kilometres of railway network within next 10 years and 4,000 kilometres in the next 20 years.
The government had planned to complete the DPR of only the Bardibas-Mechi (Kakadvitta) section and Butwal-Mahakali section through the budget of the current fiscal year. However, the DoRW has included all the sections of the project and planned to complete DPR of all the sections within November 2018.
The railway department has also started to open the track of the electric railway project. The DoRW has completed 70 per cent of track opening of the 30-km Bardibas-Lalbandi segment of the Bardibas-Simara section in last fiscal year 2016-17. The DoRW has planned to complete the track opening of this section within this fiscal.
Meanwhile, the Department of Railways has been facing problems of coordination between inter-governmental agencies involved in the project. “Delay in land acquisition and forest clearance process have been major obstacles for the project,” Upadhyaya said. “Also, lack of technical human resources regarding railways is a constraint for development of railway projects in the country.”
The government has allocated Rs four billion for railway development this fiscal, which includes the compensation for the acquired land and for other necessary works. The budget that has been allocated to the railway department is very low as it needs at least Rs 20 billion per year to carry out all the works that it has been assigned, as per department officials.
A version of this article appears in print on September 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.