Kathmandu, June 8
The pre-feasibility study for proposed Kathmandu-Raxaul railway began today.
The joint engineering team of Nepal’s Department of Railways (DoRW) and the consultant team of Indian Railways has begun the pre-feasibility study of the project.
“The engineering team comprises members from the technical team of Nepal and India and has started conducting the pre-feasibility study of the project from today,” said Prakash Bhakta Upadhyaya, spokesperson for DoRW.
According to Upadhyaya, in the first phase of the study, the team will make observations at the site where Himal
Cement Factory was located in Chobhar of Kathmandu. The technical team has initially proposed Chobhar to establish a railway station.
Meanwhile, the government has put on hold the process to establish a company for construction of the railway project as the Indian government has provided assurances that it will build the railway project through its own resources.
During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal on May 11 and 12, both the countries had agreed on effective implementation of the bilateral initiatives in agriculture, railway linkages and inland waterways development.
The Indian prime minister had assured that the entire cost to construct the railway project from Kathmandu to Raxaul would be covered by the Indian government, including establishment of an office, pre-feasibility study, detailed feasibility study (DFS), detailed project report (DPR) and as well as construction.
As per Upadhyaya, the railway project will cover a total length of 113 kilometres and around 20 per cent of the railway line will comprise tunnels and bridges.
The report of the pre-feasibility study is expected to be submitted by August 31. After that, the detailed project report will be prepared, which is expected to be completed within 15 months if everything goes according to plan.
“The construction of the project will begin within two years,” he stated.
Construction of the Kathmandu-Raxaul railway project will be easier as compared to construction of the Kathmandu-Kyirong railway project, as the latter has to pass through mountainous terrain. The proposed route of the Kathmandu-Raxaul railway will start from Kathmandu and will traverse along the Bagmati River all the way to Nijgadh. It will then be extended through Birgunj to Raxaul.
A railway track connecting Birgunj to Raxaul already exists, but it is not being used to transport passengers. The railway line is presently being used only to transport cargoes from Kolkata to the dry port in Birgunj. The DoRW has planned to upgrade this section so that people can also travel through this section.
A version of this article appears in print on June 09, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.