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Kerung-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway lines could be developed : Chinese team

KATHMANDU — A Chinese delegation which recently studied the feasibility of railways in Nepal have concluded that Kerung-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway lines could be developed in the country.

The 33-member team led by the deputy director (Vice-Minister) of National Railway Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Zhain Jian held a meeting with the Nepali side at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) and suggested the latter to move ahead with railway related projects.

The team wrapped up its five-day trip on Friday, with a positive note for development of railways in Nepal.

Senior Divisional Engineer at the Department of Railways (DoR) spokesperson Prakash Bhakta Upadhayaya, who was part of both the study visit and Friday’s meeting, said that the Chinese side said the two railway lines could be laid but pointing some difficulties.

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“The team said that both the lines can be laid,” Upadhyay said, who also accompanied the visiting Chinese team in its field trips.

The Chinese team, however, has pointed at geographical, technical and managerial problems, according to him, and said Nepali side will have an important role to resolve those problems.

“The altitude variation between Syaprubeshi and Kerung and the gap created between Indian and Tibetan tectonic plates after the 2015 earthquake were our major concerns. The Chinese team has cleared out our concerns, paving way for development of railroads in the country,” said Upadhayaya.

“Despite these geological challenges, the team has concluded that railway can be constructed in these two routes.”

The cross-border railway connectivity has been one of the major interests of Nepal over the years.

“As we lack resources and manpower, we had the chance to get expert’s insights from this trip. Besides, they have assured us to provide technical support like training our manpower in railway engineering,” added Upadhayaya.

Nepal and China have also agreed to expedite cooperation in the field of cross-border railway connectivity.  The meeting has urged the government of Nepal to start working on these railway routes.