Bathnaha-Biratnagar freight train service comes into operationPrime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the operations of the freight train service.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, on Thursday, jointly inaugurated the operations of a freight train service from Bathnaha in India to Biratnagar in Morang district.
Dahal, who is currently on a visit to the Southern neighbour, and Modi inaugurated the service, virtually, from the ceremonial Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
Following the inauguration, a cargo rail carrying some industrial raw materials arrived at the customs yard in Biratnagar from Bathnaha.
The journey was 13 minutes long, according to loco pilot Ashok Kumar.
The eight-kilometre route from Bathnaha to the Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar was tested for operations in October, 2018.
Industrialists in the Koshi Province had been demanding the operation of the freight service on the railway line ever since the construction of the railway yard was completed at the Integrated Check Post, Biratnagar.
Rakesh Surana, president of the Chamber of Industries, Morang, said the freight train service would bring down the costs of industries for importing raw materials and exporting finished goods.
“It will be easier for us to compete in the market with the reduction in the cost of production,” said Surana.
The route was tested again on Wednesday, according to the Department of Railways.
More than a decade since its work began, the construction of the 18.6 km long cross-border broad-gauge railway line in south-eastern Nepal connecting Katahari, Morang with Bathnaha, India is yet to be completed.
Both passenger and freight trains are expected to run on the railway track.
“The passenger train will also be brought into operations soon,” the department said.
Of the total, 13.5-kilometres of the railway line lies in the Nepali territory.
The 3.8 billion Indian rupees project, funded by the Indian government, began in 2011. It is being built by the Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON).
The land compensation issue in a 2.5 kilometre stretch of the railway line in Katahari Rural Municipality has delayed the completion of the project.
Dissatisfied with the amount fixed by the Compensation Determination Committee of the government, 22 landowners have filed cases in the Supreme Court.
The project officials had requested the landowners to allow the construction work on their lands by agreeing to receive an earlier agreed compensation amount for the time being, and the additional amount, if the earlier amount falls short, after the Supreme Court’s verdict. But the landowners are determined to hear the court’s order first.
The locals living near the checkpost in Biratnagar and the labourers have demanded priority in the loading and unloading of goods.
There will be three stations along the railway line on the Nepali side.
Besides the one at the Integrated Check Post, other two will be near Rangeli-Biratnagar road section and Maheshpur
While the project work near the Rangeli-Biratnagar road section is near completion, the work on the northern part from the road section has been stalled because of compensation issues.