By Rup Narayan Dhakal: Pokhara—A 23-member high level Chinese delegation team including Nepali railway officials have carried out a ground survey and viability of proposed railway network that will be built from Kerung- Kathmandu- Pokhara to Lumbini in Nepal.
The Chinese team led by the Deputy Director (Vice-Minister) of National Railway Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Zheng Jian, came to Kathmandu on Monday. The team also includes of officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Railway Administration of the People’s Republic of China, consultants, railway experts and contractors among others.
The team had conducted a survey in Pokhara-Kathmandu section on Wednesday. According to Railway Department Nepal senior divisional engineer Prakash Upadhya, the team also visited the Hemja and Gharipatan of Pokhara for possible railway stations. Earlier on Tuesday, the team conducted the survey in Kathmandu-Kerung section and reached near Kerung too. Today the team also conducted survey from Pokhara to Lumbini and a meeting would be held in Kathmandu tomorrow before the departure of delegation team.
In this connection, it will take 1 hour for a 200 km per hour speed rail to reach Kathmandu from Pokhara if the railway is built in this section of 187 km. Now it takes at least six hours for a bus to reach Kathmandu from Pokhara. Few years ago, a preliminary study had also been carried out for this railway network. Nepali officials said that Chinese delegates are very positive to build railway in Nepal but they are seeking the willingness of Nepal Government and political parties of Nepal.
The Chinese team has got the responsibility of studding the topography and geography of proposed railway network area and the holding meeting with the Nepali official. The Investment Board of Nepal has proposed the budget of Rs 1621 billion to build a railway including eight various projects. Railway network alone has the share of Rs 283 billion in this amount.
The Chinese team arrived Nepal as per the request of Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the Nepal has already signed the China’s OBOR initiatives which also covers the proposed railway project of Nepal. The team has found that the Pokhara and Kathmandu section is easier than the Kerung-Kathmandu (100 km) section to build the railway. The Kerung Kathmandu section has so many high hills and it needs more bridges and tunnels to build the railway.
The team reportedly thinks that the railway line from Kathmandu to Muglin and Muglin to Pokhara and Muglin to Lumbini would be a bit easier and cheaper instead of connecting between Pokhara and Lumbini. China had built railway to Lhasa in 2006 and later 250 km far to Sigatse. It has been hoped that the railway line will be extended to Kerung by 2020.