If everything proceeds as planned, the second railway route to facilitate container movement between Nepal and India should be ready for operation in the current fiscal itself.
The first route between Raxaul in India and Birganj in Nepal has been in operation for the past several years.
The work on the construction on railway line on the six-km stretch between Bathna in India and Biratnagar in Nepal via Jogbani in India is progressing. Once the work is over, a new protocol will be signed between the two countries to kick off the movement.
Earlier, a similar protocol was signed to facilitate Raxaul-Birganj movement.
Currently, an estimated 8,000 containers pass through the Jogbani-Biratnagar border, all by road.
Container Corporation of India (Concor), which will operate the proposed container service by rail, hopes to secure at least 50 per cent of the throughput.
Jogbani, the last Indian town on the border, is already connected by rail. It has a railway goods shed and also land Customs facilities.
Biratnagar is located right across the border. However, the rail link to Biratnagar will take off not from Jogbani but from Bathna, the station located a few kilo metre before Jogbani , for operational convenience. The Railways, it is learnt, has agreed to provide some land at Jogbani to Concor to facilitate its operation.
Meanwhile, the construction of the integrated check-post on the Raxaul-Birganj border is nearing completion.
The indication is that once ready, its operation will be left to Concor.
The commissioning of the check-post, which will offer Customs facilities for goods and passenger traffic by road, will be complete with warehousing and other facilities to boost flow of traffic on the route between the two countries.
Right now, an estimated 18,300 containers travel by train annually through the Raxaul-Birganj border, representing 72 per cent of the total throughput on the route.In 2011-12, Concor handled 20 rakes a month on an average through the Raxaul-Birganj route, posting a growth of about five per cent over the previous year.