India handed over the Jaynagar-Kurtha cross-border rail link, built with assistance of government of India, to the Nepal government today.

Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Renu Kumari Yadav witnessed the occasion.

The executing agency for the project, IRCON International Ltd (on behalf of Indian government) handed over the assets of section to Nepal Railway Co Ltd (on behalf of Nepal government) during the event.

Under the grant assistance of the government of India, the gauge conversion of 34.9 km narrow gauge section into broad gauge, from Jaynagar in India to Kurtha in Nepal, has now been completed.

The 34.9 km Jaynagar-Kurtha section is part of 68.72 km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link being built under the government of India grant assistance of Rs 8.77 billion. This section was earlier a narrow gauge rail link between Jayanagar and Bijalpura. There are total eight stations and halts on the Jaynagar-Kurtha section, which include the historically important city of Janakpur.

Once operationalised, this would be the first broad gauge cross-border rail link between India and Nepal, and would further boost trade and commerce activities as well as people to people linkages between the two countries.

Cross-border rail linkages are an important facet of India- Nepal development cooperation, which include Jaynagar- Bijalpura-Bardibas link and Jogbani-Biratnagar (18.6 km) link, both being constructed under Indian grant assistance.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.