Kathmandu – Owing to the controversy surrounding its earlier alignment, which would traverse through the Parsa National Park, the government is planning to change the route of Kathmandu-Birgunj electric rail via Nijgadh bypassing the national park.
The Department of Railways (DoRW) had initially planned to award the contract of conducting feasibility study of the railway project to a South Korean company called Soosung Engineering and Consulting Korea, which had placed the lowest bid.
However, after the Indian government expressed interest to build the railway, the government cancelled its earlier plans.
An Indian firm named Kanekar Consulting Engineers (KCE) has already begun to conduct the feasibility study.
“We have proposed the Indian government through the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to change the alignment so that it passes through the proposed Nijgadh International Airport and also links with Kathmandu-Tarai expressway,” said Balaram Mishra, director general at DoRW.
“The Indian consultant company has communicated that it has already finished the field work and is in the process of finalising the feasibility study report,” he added.
As per Mishra, KCE has said that it will complete a detailed project report of the railway within one year.
As per the proposal, the electric rail will also transport cargo containers, which is expected to significantly minimise the transport cost.
While China has proposed to build a railway line between Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Kathmandu by 2022, India has also assured to connect the Capital with the southern neighbour with a rail link within five years.
“Once completed, the railway link will provide a cheaper, safer, faster and more environmentally-friendly alternative mode of transport for people,” Mishra stated.