Railway Department yet to decide on India’s proposalThe Department of Railway has said it is yet to take a decision on India’s proposal to conduct “preliminary engineering and traffic survey” of the proposed Barahani (Uttar Pradesh)-Kathmandu Railway project,
The Department of Railway has said it is yet to take a decision on India’s proposal to conduct “preliminary engineering and traffic survey” of the proposed Barahani (Uttar Pradesh)-Kathmandu Railway project, given it would intersect in the planned Kathmandu-Pokhara railway line near Mugling, Chitwan.
A few months ago, China CAMC Engineering Company Ltd had submitted a feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Pokhara Railway project. And, the government is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese firm to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project, according to government officials.
“There will be duplication of works due to potential intersection between the two proposed railways,” said Ananta Acharya, director general of Department of Railway. “That’s why we are yet to take a decision on the Indian proposal, and we have conveyed the message to the Indian side.”
About four months ago, India had proposed conducting a “preliminary engineering and traffic survey” for two new cross-border railways — Barahani (Uttar Pradesh)-Kathmandu and Kushinagar-Kapilvastu. “There is no problem in approving the proposal of conducting feasibility study of Kushinagar-Kapilvastu Railway project,” said Acharya. “We had told the Indian side two years ago, when it had first forwarded the proposal, that Nepal is okay with it.”
Nepali officials said India had announced the plans for developing Barahani-Kathmandu Railway project without holding consultations with Nepal. The Indian government had proposed direct rail link between Barahani and Kathmandu in its Railway Budget presented in February right after then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to New Delhi. The Indian government had also earmarked IRs5.4 million for the feasibility study of the project, much to the surprise of Nepali officials.
According to Nepali officials India’s surprise announcement could be to counter plans to build Kerung-Kathmandu railway line with the Chinese assistance.
Nepal had sought China’s help in preparing DPR of Kerung-Kathmandu railway line and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway line during Oli’s visit to China, to which the northern neighbour was reported to have responded positively.
After India proposed conducting surveys of two new cross-border railway lines, Nepali and Indian officials had even made preparations to sign the MoU during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India in September. But the MoU signing could not take place.
However, the two sides had reviewed progress in the implementation of cross-border Jayanagar-Bijalpur-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar railway projects and agreed on measures to expedite works.