Indian railways set to boost Bhutan, Nepal bilateral ties

JALPAIGURI: In a move that will help boost bilateral relations with Bhutan and Nepal, the plan to connect the two Himalayan neighbours with the Indian mainland through a railway network is now being given the push.

Indian Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) would execute the plans for laying the railway tracks to Bhutan and Nepal. Indian railway minister had announced during her recent Siliguri visit that the projects would be expedited. NFR had earlier conducted the necessary surveys and sent the reports to the railway ministry for approval.

Of the three Indian places that will be connected

to Bhutan, two are in Assam Pathshala and Kokrajhar and one is in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district Hasimara. The 51.15-km track from Pathshala will go up to Bhutan’s Nanglam while that from Kokrajhar

will connect Gelephu covering a distance of 57.7

km. Another 17.4-km track will be laid from Hasimara to Phuentsholing.

The cost of laying

the three tracks has been

estimated at IRs 7,530

million, IRs 3,020 million and IRs 28 million respectively. “We completed the survey in June last year

and submitted the report to the railway ministry. Work will start once the projects are approved,’’ an NFR spokesperson said.

Indian central government had asked the railways to conduct the survey following requests from Bhutan to develop the rail network. The Hasimara-Phuentsholing link was announced this Sunday.

Meanwhile, the two places in India that will have railway connectivity to Nepal are Naxalbari in Bengal and Jogbani in Bihar. The line from Naxalbari will go up to Kankarvitta in eastern Nepal, covering a distance of 16 km, while that from Jogbani will connect Biratnagar, a 15-km journey.

Surveys for these two

projects were completed

in August and the reports were subsequently sent

to the Indian railway ministry for sanction.