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Chinese team to hold railway studies

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 7, 2017-A visiting Chinese delegation has expressed positive stance on development of Nepal-China cross border railway connectivity.

The 23-member team led by Zheng Jian, the deputy director (Vice-Minister) of National Railway Administration of the People’s Republic of China, arrived in Kathmandu on Monday, to conduct a preliminary study on the development of railway networks in the country.

Later in the afternoon, the Chinese delegation held talks with Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) Devendra Karki, Director General of the Department of Railways (DoR), Bishnu Om Bade, among other top officials.

“The Chinese team is in here to observe the infrastructural development of railways in the country,” said DoR Spokesperson Prakash Bhakta Upadhyay.

“The team has been positive towards the development of cross-border rail connectivity. This augurs well for the development of long-awaited railways in the country.”

The team consists of officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Railway Administration of the People’s of China, consultants, railway experts and contractors among others.

Rajendra Raj Sharma, spokesperson at MoPIT said the two sides shared their experiences and progress on railway development during the meeting at the ministry.

“This is just the first meeting where both sides presented papers on railway development. We also put forward our situation,” said Sharma, adding that they also discussed ways to further cooperation for infrastructure development, especially in the railway sector in Nepal.

During their stay, the Chinese team is scheduled to visit Kerung, Pokhara and Lumbini for preliminary studies on two major railway routes: Kathmandu-Kerung and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini.

“The team will be joined by Nepali officials and visit Kerung, Pokhara and Lumbini to gather information on possible railway routes,” added Sharma. After the field visits, the two sides will hold another round of meeting on Friday.

Chinese company China CAMC Engineering has prepared a feasibility study report on rail networks for Kathmandu to Pokhara, Baireni to Kerung, Kathmandu to Kerung and Kurintar to Lumbini. The Kathmandu-Pokhara rail route will be over 164 km long, according to the feasibility study.

However, progress in railway network development on the Nepali side has been sluggish, with officials pointing out lack of fund and human resource as the cause.

Currently, the work is going on Jogbani-Biratnagar, Jayanagar-Janakpur-Bardibas with support from India, while the government itself is building the 30-km Bardibas-Lalbandi route, according to Spokesperson Sharma.

The DoR has also been conducting a field survey for the expansion of railway network in the western region. The proposed railway line has been divided into four parts: 115-km Butwal-Lamahi; 102-km Lamahi-Kohalpur, 95-km Kohalpur-Sukhad and 94-km Sukhad-Gaddachauki.

Published: 07-11-2017 08:19

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