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India submits report to Nepal on Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line

India has submitted a final location survey report of the cross-border Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line to Nepal for for its review and consideration.

The development comes at a time when authorities in Beijing are also preparing a detailed feasibility study of a railway line whixh will link the Chinese border city of Kerung with Kathmandu.

The final location survey which was prepared by India’s Konkan Railway Corporation Limited was handed over to the government of Nepal last week via the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation. 

Rohit Kumar Bisural, the Director General of Nepal’s Department of Railways, told IANS that they are currently examining the Indian report.

“With this, we have to deliberate on how to execute and implement the project. The final location survey has shown that the project is promising and is feasible for building,” he added. 

As per the report, it will cost some $3 billion to construct the 141 km-line which will connect the Indian city of Raxaul to Kathmandu. 

The construction cost excludes land compensation. 

The government of Nepal has to carry out the land acquisition and provide for the construction of the railway line. 

When the initial study was carried out, the total investment of the project was around $2 billion but now it has increased by an additional $1 billion due to factors like price escalation of the different construction materials, officials said. 

The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has proposed that the railway line will be based on broad-gauge, which will make a difference to the speed of the train. 

In standard gauge, the speed of the train can be up to 350 km per hour, while in broad gauge, the maximum speed is only 160 km.

The railway will start from Raxaul and pass through Birganj, Manharwa, Sapahar Bazar, Nijgarh, Dhiyal, Shikharpur, Sisneri, Satikhel and Khokna (Kathmandu).

The project’s internal rate of return is 4.81 per cent or it will take 25 years to go into the profits, added Bisural. 

Out of the total railway length, 42 km will be covered by the tunnels and 124 big bridges will have to be constructed, with 40 curves, according to the report.

Two-tier trains, passenger and cargo will be operational on the line. 

Based on a 2019 survey report, 12 trains can operate on the line.

In August 2018, Nepal and India had signed an MoU for a preliminary engineering cum traffic survey for the rail link. 

The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited was entrusted to conduct a preliminary survey. 

Another MoU on conducting the final location study was signed by Nepal and India in October 2021.

“This is a strategic project, it will ease the transportation of various goods from India to Nepal and Nepal to India and it has other several advantages too,” Bisural added.

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