At upcoming talks, Nepal and China to discuss Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railwaysThe two sides will discuss ways to conduct the feasibility study for the railway lines on Chinese expenditure, officials say.
Nepal and China will be discussing a feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway for the first time at bilateral talks that are scheduled to begin in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
A 23-member Chinese team is arriving in Kathmandu on Monday to hold talks with a Nepali team led by Devendra Kari, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.
“Besides discussing the modality of preparing the detailed project report for the Kathmandu-Kerung railway, the delegates will also discuss ways to conduct the feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway,” Balram Mishra, director-general of the Department of Railways, told the Post.
During the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, China had agreed to extend a grant for the feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Kerung line. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Nepal’s Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Chinese Ministry of Transport for a feasibility study of the cross-border railway. The Chinese side has already conducted pre-feasibility studies for both railway lines.
Officials said that during the fourth meeting of the Nepal-China Railway Technical Exchange and Negotiations, held in China in the third week of June, Chinese officials had expressed their desire to conduct the feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway and had shared the technical report carried out by two Chinese consulting firms.
According to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, apart from conducting the detailed project report for the Kerung-Kathmandu railway, the fourth meeting in Beijing had discussed the prospects of developing Kathmandu-Pokhara and Kathmandu-Lumbini railways.
“We briefly discussed conducting the feasibility study for Kathmandu-Pokhara and Kathmandu-Lumbini but this time, we will come up with some concrete decisions,” Rajeshwor Gyawali, spokesperson for the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, told the Post. “We will request the Chinese side to carry out the feasibility study on their own expenditure where Nepal can assist technically.”
The meeting is expected to finalise the date for the Kathmandu-Kerung detailed project report and the feasibility study for Kathmandu-Pokhara and Kathmandu-Lumbini railways. The Chinese team will conduct a field visit to Pokhara towards this end.
According to the pre-feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara railway, the total length of the railway line would be 187 kilometres, with 44 tunnels running 107.277 kilometres. The line will have 42 bridges amounting to a length of 33.039 kilometres. The proposed railway will have 12 stations.
The Kathmandu-Lumbini line that will be diverted from Kurintar will be 152 kilometres long. According to the pre-feasibility study, the proposed railway line will have six tunnels with a total length of 24.417 kilometres. It will have 16 bridges amounting to a total length of 15.938 kilometres. The proposed line will have 11 stations.
According to the report, both railway lines are feasible in term of financial evaluation and the internal rate of return is above 3 percent. The financial internal rate of return in terms of project capital base of both proposed lines is above 8 percent and the economic rate also around 8 percent.