Nepal to request grant for DPR of Kathmandu-Raxaul railwayOfficials said a request has been made through unofficial channels in India, and a formal proposal will follow soon.
The government will seek a grant from India to conduct the detailed project report of the Raxaul-Kathmandu railway, whose preliminary engineering and traffic survey report has already been submitted to Nepal by the Indian side.
The Indian team made a presentation at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport last month. The Nepali side then communicated to the Indian side to go ahead with another survey required for plans to connect Kathmandu with Raxaul by rail.
“We are happy and satisfied with the report of the proposed Raxual-Kathmandu rail and have already communicated to the Indian side to initiate preparation of the detailed project report with Indian grant as Nepal lacks proper skills, manpower and technology,” said a senior official at the ministry.
During the State Visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in April 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured that the entire cost to construct the railway project from Kathmandu to Raxaul would be covered by the Indian government, including establishment of an office, pre-feasibility study, detailed feasibility study, detailed project report and as well as the construction.
Officials told the Post that an agreement to conduct the DPR of the proposed railway will be agreed during a high-level visit from India. In the case of China, although the feasibility study of the Kerung-Kathmandu railway was prepared in 2018, an agreement on preparing the detailed project report of the proposed cross-border link was agreed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Nepal.
“We are waiting for similar high-level visits from India so that an agreement on conducting the DPR will be finalised on Indian grant for a cost of around Rs1 billion,” said one official at the Physical Infrastructure Ministry.
Balram Mishra, director-general of the Department of Railways, told the Post that some issues are under the purview of diplomatic exercise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does get involved. “I cannot say how and when the correspondence will be made but we have already expressed our desire for the grant to the Indian side,” he said.
Sources in the Indian Embassy told the Post that they have yet to receive feedback from the Nepali side on the proposed railway and request to prepare the detailed project report. Nepali officials said that a request was already made to the Indian side through an unofficial channel and they are positive that a formal request will be made soon.
According to the preliminary report, construction of the proposed railway will need an investment of $2.66 to $3.15 billion, in addition to land acquisition, taxes in imports of various technical and other materials.
The Indian side has proposed four lines to connect the Indian city of Raxul with Kathmandu and it will take five years to complete the construction after clearance of the land from the Nepal side.
According to the report prepared by India’s KONKON Railways, four different alternative lanes are proposed to be built. Their length ranges from 136 kilometres to 198 kilometres.
After conducting the DPR, which is expected to take one year to complete, the Indian company will provide recommendations on which route will be the most feasible and suitable for investment.