‘Geological study crucial for railway’Geological study seems to be the most crucial factor as Nepal and China agree to build a cross-border railway line linking Kerung with Kathmandu. According to technicians, the 121.48 kilometre railway line stretching from the Chinese border at Rasuwagadhi to Nepal’s capital has high altitude variation.
Geological study seems to be the most crucial factor as Nepal and China agree to build a cross-border railway line linking Kerung with Kathmandu. According to technicians, the 121.48 kilometre railway line stretching from the Chinese border at Rasuwagadhi to Nepal’s capital has high altitude variation.
This severity is explained by the fact that Chinese geologists have visited the project site for the second time in a month. According to the Department of Railways (DoR), two geologists who arrived in Kathmandu two weeks ago went around several locations in Nuwakot and Rasuwa districts. Around half a dozen Chinese technicians had inspected sites on the proposed railway line in the last week of May. The team is preparing to submit a report by August 2018.
Following a railway preliminary study in November last year, a Chinese delegation had concluded that developing two rail routes—Kathmandu-Kerung and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini—is feasible. The team led by Zheng Jian, deputy director (vice-minister) of the National Railway Administration of China, had made field trips to Kerung, Pokhara and Lumbini. More surveys have been conducted on the basis of this study.
“This project [Kathmandu-Kerung] is doable. However the Chinese side’s statement that it will be like a research laboratory shows the level of its complexity,” said Prakash Upadhyaya, senior divisional engineer at the DoR. “The Chinese team came back for field study and further rese-arch on geological aspects.”
Moreover, the rift created between the Indian and Tibetan tectonic plates after the 2015 earthquake presents another technical impediment. According to Upadhyaya, cracks caused by the earthquake in some sections of the proposed rail line and study of internal rock have become the biggest concern in project development.
A senior official at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport told the Post that tectonic plates and their activities need to be studied thoroughly before initiating a major project as this. “These plates shift from time to time and can disorient the railway. In case of a major shift in plates earthquakes can occur too,” the official added.
According to an initial report prepared by the China CAMC Engineering Company Limited and China Railway Engineering Consultants Group, 79.5 kms of the 121.48 km line will be bridges and 10 kms tunnel. The study locates three intermediate stations in Baireni, Dhunche and Kerung and five crossing stations in Samundra, Rautbeshi, Urleni, Lantan and Langtang on the Kathmandu-Kerung route.
Nepal and China signed a landmark accord in Beijing last week to develop cross-border railway that will connect the Tibetan town of Kerung with Kathmandu. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had told journalists in Beijing that the DPR of the Kerung-Kathmandu railway would be ready in one-and-a-half years with an aim to build the project in the next five years. A joint statement issued during PM’s China visit highlighted the deal on railway cooperation as the most significant bilateral initiative.