A Chinese delegation that studied the feasibility of railways in Nepal have concluded that two rail routes– Kathmandu-Kerung and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini – could be developed in the country.
The team led by Zheng Jian, the deputy director (Vice-Minister) of National Railway Administration of the People’s Republic of China, had arrived in the country to conduct preliminary studies on possible railroads. The team wrapped up its five-day trip on Friday, with a positive note for development of railways in Nepal.
After completing the field trips to Kerung, Pokhara and Lumbini as part of their study, the team held a meeting with the Nepali side at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) and suggested the latter to move ahead with railway related projects.
According to the Department of Railways (DoR) spokesperson Prakash Bhakta Upadhayaya, the Chinese team cleared out many technical reservations, especially geological ones.
“The altitude variation between Syaprubeshi and Kerung and the gap created between Indian and Tibetan tectonic plates after the 2015 earthquake were our major concerns. This Chinese team of experts has cleared out our concerns, paving way for development of railroads in the country,” said Upadhayaya. “Despite these geological challenges, the team has concluded that railway can be constructed in these two routes.”
The team pointed out that Syaprubeshi was at the low altitude in comparison to Kerung that might obstruct upward movement of railway. The cross-border railway connectivity has been one of the major interests of Nepal over the years.
According to Upadhayaya, who also accompanied the visiting Chinese team in its field trips, the team has assured of technical support required for the these railway projects.
“As we lack resources and manpower, we had the chance to get expert’s insights from this trip. Besides, they have assured us to provide technical support like training our manpower in railway engineering,” added Upadhayaya.
Both sides have also appointed focal persons for these projects. Senior Divisional Engineer Aman Chitrakar from DoR will oversee the projects for Nepal.
The detailed report of the field visits is expected to be released shortly.
Nepal and China have also agreed to expedite cooperation in the field of cross-border railway connectivity. The meeting has urged the government of Nepal to start working on these railway routes.
“They are willing to support us. It’s now up to us how we move ahead,” said Upadhayaya.