Kathmandu, September 2
The government has started work on preparing detailed project report (DPR) of the eastern sections of the much talked about Mechi-Mahakali Electrified Railway Project. In this regard, the Department of Railways (DoRW) has invited expression of interest (EoI) from interested global firms.
Eastern sections of the railway project constitute 247 km of the total 945 km railway line that has been planned to connect Gaddachauki of Mahakali in the west to Kakarvitta of Mechi in the east. The DPR of the eastern sections from Bardibas will be prepared in two packages — Bardibas-Inaruwa and Inaruwa-Kakarvitta (including Itahari-Biratnagar link of 22 km) — involving two consultants.
The DoRW officials said that they would short-list six potential consultants from the EoI and issue request for proposal to prepare the DPR. Preparation of detailed design, cost estimation and bid documents of the project for the construction of the railway line based on the feasibility study and finding of additional studies/investigations conducted during the derailed design work will be the main tasks under the DPR.
For submission of the EoI, DoRW has provided a time of up to September 28 for the applicants. The consultant of each package will get a time of 12 months to prepare for the DPR. The DoRW has already completed DPR preparation of three sections — Bardibas-Simara-Birgunj, Tamsariya-Butwal-Bhairahawa and Simara-Tamsariya — that falls to the west of Bardibas. However, DPR preparation work on 420 km section to the west of Butwal has not moved ahead for the last one year due to a case related to it being under consideration of the Supreme Court.
The railway project is one of the 21 national pride projects. However, it has been moving at a very slow pace following multiple problems like court case, land acquisition problem, lack of human resources and low allocation of budget, among others. “The project has been moving at a snail’s pace for lack of human resources and commitment from the government to solve related problems,” said a high level official at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.
After the controversy on the plan to extend the railway line through Chitwan National Park (CNP), the DoRW is working to conduct a feasibility study for an alternative railway line of Simara-Tamsariya that passes through the park. As per the new plan of the government, the alternative line will connect Nijgadh, Hetauda and Bharatpur bypassing the CNP.
For the current fiscal year, the government has allocated Rs 1.86 billion for land acquisition and construction of railway track of Bardibas-Simara section. The DPR of this section had been completed in 2013 and track bed construction was started in fiscal year 2014-15.
A version of this article appears in print on September 03, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.