Nepal urges China to fund feasibility study

  • Kathmandu-Kerung railway
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal lacks both budget and technology to conduct feasibility study for the ambitious railway project

Dec 22, 2018-Nepal has requested the Chinese Railway Authority to provide fund to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed Kathmandu-Kerung railway. A decision to this end is expected be made at the fourth meeting of Nepal-China railway sometime around April next year.

During a meeting with the officials from Chinese Railway Authority held in Kathmandu on the second week of December, Nepali officials had expressed their inability to fund the study that is expected to take one and a half years and cost billions of rupees.

The Chinese side, which had initially agreed to bear 50 percent of the fund, has agreed to consider Nepal’s request to foot the entire expense, according to Balaram Mishra, the director general at the Department of Railways.     

He told the Post that the Chinese officials responded positively after the Nepali side explained to them at the meeting that Nepal cannot arrange a large sum of money nor obtain the modern technology required for the feasibility study. 

“If we were able to fund the feasibility study, we would call for international bidders. But since we are unable to do so, we have urged the Chinese side to arrange the fund,” he said, adding that the Chinese officials have assured to take up the matter with their government.

During the meeting, the Chinese officials had also handed over the pre-feasibility study report of the railway line to their Nepali counterparts. 

After conducting the feasibility study, the next step will be the preparation of detailed project report ( DPR).

Although the China has expressed its commitment to conduct the DPR study for the cross-border railway project, the two sides have yet to agree on the financing modality. The DPR study is expected to take two years to complete.

According to the pre-feasibility report, the railway line will span 72.25km, 98.5 percent of which would either be bridges or tunnels. The construction cost has been projected at Rs 3.55 billion per kilometre.

Nepal and China are planning to hold the fourth round of talks for the ambitious railway project in Beijing.

“We have to wait for China’s decision regarding the fund for the feasibility study. As the train track passes through the highly-seismic zone, rough geographical area that needs frequent drillings, the process of undertaking feasibility study is an expensive process and technically complex,” Mishra said.

Published: 22-12-2018 09:29

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