Nepal is a landlocked nation. It is still facing challenges in basic connectivity for social integration. The nation has fragile mountains and hilly terrain (Geo-dynamically active) due to its rugged topography. So, the development of railway transport has always become a challenge as for other modes of transport. Now our national plan has also given due focus on its development through the initiation of Railway Department.
Rail transport programmes were launched during our national development plan (FY 2013/14 – 2015/16). The extension of Janakpur–Jaynagar railway line 26 KMs to Bardibas has been started and the Department of Railways was established to sustain these programmes. Based on this plan, the activities required for the development and expansion of safe railway transport will be carried out.
Its strategies would be to identify, develop and extend rail transport networks along east–west and north–south rail routes on the basis of need and feasibility.
Light rail transit and monorails would also be introduced in major cities. Public-private partnerships would be promoted in the development and operation of railways transport infrastructure. Also this plan had strategy to develop a sustainable, safe and reliable rail network.
The national development plan has its operating policies in order to meet the objective and strategies. According to these policies, a feasibility study for the development of an East–West electric railway would be completed and a detailed project report initiated. A detail project report on the operation of metrorail services in the Kathmandu Valley is required in order to attract investment through public–private partnerships (PPP).
Likewise, the operation of Biratnagar–Katahari Railway currently under construction and Jaynagar–Janakpur–Bardibas railway which is being upgraded, would be assigned to local bodies or managed through such partnership programmes.
The plan has expected some outcomes in terms of the completions of the detailed project report on all 994 KMs of the Mechi–Mahakali Railway, start of the construction of Simara–Bardibas segment, building of the Biratnagar–Katahari Railway, the upgrading of Jaynagar–Janakpur–Bardibas Railway and the preparation of the detailed project report for the operation of metrorail services in the Kathmandu Valley.
A version of this article appears in print on October 18, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.