Chinese team in Kathmandu to study feasibility of railway connecting Nepal to China

Kathmandu: A technical team from China has arrived in Nepal to study the detailed feasibility of the Kathmandu-Kerung inland railway route.

The technicians of the China Rail-Way Survey and Design Group Company Limited of the Chinese government have arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday afternoon.

This team will prepare the engineering study report of the proposed railway.

The Chinese Embassy said that it is an important part of BRI and that China is always ready to implement the agreement between the two countries.

It is also an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative between Nepal and China,’ the embassy said, ‘China always prioritizes Nepal’s aspirations and needs. Therefore, China will actively promote this study through its aid fund.’ The embassy also said that both the countries will cooperate to build the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network with Nepal under China’s BRI.

The Nepal government left the task of preparing the detailed project report (DPR) of this railway to the Chinese government two years ago. However, the Chinese side has not yet started the study work in the field. Due to the strict policy taken by the Chinese government to control the corona, the technical team could not come for a long time.

Relying on others even in DPR, which can be done at own expense, has delayed the work. In October 2078, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport sent a letter through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting to proceed with the detailed feasibility study of the Kerung-Kathmandu railway.

The agreement on providing technical assistance for the study of this railway was signed during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Nepal last March. Also, during the visit of outgoing Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka to China, Chinese Foreign Minister Yi promised to send a Chinese expert team.

The memorandum of understanding for making DPR of Kerung-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Pokhara and Pokhara-Lumbini railways was signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal in October 2076. For the implementation of that agreement, the meeting of Nepalese and Chinese officials held in Kathmandu in the second week of November 2076 divided the work. Accordingly, China has to conduct a detailed feasibility study including geological studies at its own expense.

Officials of the railway department say that the study will take a lot of time as the project will be built in a difficult geography with around 98 percent tunnels and bridges.

However, after the epidemic, China did not show much vigor in the study. However, with the formation of a new government after the election, it is seen as meaningful for the Chinese team to come to Nepal.