KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 20
The fourth Nepal-India Joint Working Group meeting on Railway Cooperation was held on Thursday via video-conferencing.
The JWG reviewed the cross-border rail link projects that are between Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar under advance implementation. Both sides discussed the technical preparedness of the completed 34-km-long section of the railway line between Jaynagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal for the purpose of running passenger train services, including the standard operating procedures (SOP) that need to be put in place for resumption of passenger train services by Nepal Railway Company (NRC).
The section, originally a narrow gauge built by British India, was upgraded by the Indian government to broad gauge at a cost of over Rs 6.08 billion, as per a media release.
The Nepal government has recently procured two DEMU train sets from India for running on this railway link. Both sides also discussed the mutual facilitation and coordination required for completion of the work on remaining sections from Kurtha to Bilajpura, currently under construction by the Indian government at a cost of Rs 3.20 billion.
Both sides also agreed to expedite work for completion of other ongoing cross- border railway project between Jogbani in India and Biratnagar in Nepal under a grant assistance of Rs 5.884 billion.
The Indian side was led by Manoj Singh, executive director (Traffic Transportation-F), Ministry of Railways, Government of India and Nepali side was led by Gopal Prasad Sigdel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Nepal government.
The JWG co-chairs agreed to extend cooperation in the railway sector, including in capacity building and training of Nepali railway personnel in India and in Nepal as per the requirements of Nepal.
Both sides agreed to remain engaged closely to strengthen cooperation in the railway sector, the release adds.
Other stakeholders who participated from both sides included senior officials from Indian Railways, Ministry of External Affairs, Embassy of India in Kathmandu, Konkan Railways and IRCON on the Indian side and director general of Department of Railway (DoRw), general manager of NRC, officials from Ministry of Home and Foreign Affairs of Nepal government from the Nepali side.
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