Kathmandu, October 31

A team comprising of senior Chinese government officials will be arriving in the capital in December to hold discussions on the detailed project report (DPR) of the much-hyped 75-kilometre-long Trans Himalayan Kathmandu-Kyirong railway with Nepali government officials.

As per Balaram Mishra, director general of the Department of Railways (DoRW), secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and vice-chairman of National Railways Administration of China will be leading the respective delegations in the meeting.

Mishra informed that the meeting will particularly focus on preparing the DPR of the project. “A memorandum of understanding to construct the project has already been inked between the two countries, so the major agenda of the meeting will be the DPR.”

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Nepal earlier this month, both the governments had inked the MoU on Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network with the view of contributing to Nepal’s development, including cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance connectivity.

An agreement had also been signed on June 21 last year to conduct the feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Kyirong cross-border railway.

In June, the fourth meeting of the Joint Steering Committee was held in Beijing.

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 BRI.

“We are preparing our agendas for the meeting and the December meeting will pave the way to conduct the DPR and other necessary studies of the project,” said Mishra.

In the previous meeting, both the governments had agreed to simultaneously accelerate works on the detailed feasibility study (DFS) and DPR of the railway project.

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 around Rs 257 billion.