Kathmandu, June 17
A team comprising of senior government officials is in Beijing to hold discussions on the detailed project report (DPR) of the muchhyped 75-kilometre-long Trans Himalayan Kathmandu-Kyirong railway with the Chinese government.
According to senior officials from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, the Nepali delegation is being led by Devendra Karki, secretary at the ministry. The team left for Beijing on June 15 and was scheduled to meet Chinese railway officials.
During President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s state visit to China in the last week of April to attend the second Belt and Road Forum, the Chinese government listed the cross-border Trans Himalayan railway among the projects to be built under the Belt and Road Initiative. The government is hopeful that China will provide necessary support for constructing the ambitious project.
However, the two countries are yet to discuss who will fund the cost of the DPR.
Earlier, both the governments had agreed to simultaneously accelerate works on the detailed feasibility study (DFS) and DPR of the railway project.
Meanwhile, the fourth meeting between government authorities of both the nations related to the railway project, which is ongoing, was initially scheduled to be held in the first week of April, though the dates were not fixed. “The National Railways Administration of China finally gave a green signal for the meeting and based on that, our delegation is in China at the moment to hold the discussions,” an official informed.
China had conducted a pre-feasibility study at its own cost and submitted the report to Nepal in August last year. The study had concluded that the project was feasible and would cost Rs 257 billion.
“The meeting will probably finalise the procedure of conducting the DPR and who will be responsible for bearing the cost of preparing the DPR,” the official added.
A version of this article appears in print on June 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.