Friday, October 22, 2021

India hands over Jaynagar-Kurtha cross-border rail section

India today handed over the Jaynagar-Kurtha cross-border rail link, built with government of India assistance, to the government of Nepal.

Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Renu Kumari Yadav witnessed the occasion, according to a press note released by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

The executing agency for the project, IRCON International Ltd (on behalf of Government of India) handed over the assets of the section to Nepal Railway Company Ltd (on behalf of Government of Nepal) during the event.

Under the grant assistance of Government of India, the gauge conversion of 34.9-km narrow gauge section into broad gauge, from Jaynagar in India to Kurtha in Nepal, has now been completed, the press note reads, adding that the 34.9-km Jaynagar-Kurtha section is part of 68.72-km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link being built under Government of India grant assistance of Rs 8.77 billion. "This section was earlier a narrow gauge rail link between Jayanagar and Bijalpura."

There are total 8 stations and halts on the Jaynagar-Kurtha section, which include the historically important city of Janakpur.

Once operationalised, it would be the first broad gauge cross-border rail link between India and Nepal, and would further boost trade and commerce activities as well as people to people linkages between the two countries, the press note adds.

Cross-border rail linkages are an important facet of India-Nepal Development cooperation, which include Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link and Jogbani-Biratnagar (18.6-km) rail link, both being constructed under Government of India grant assistance.

However, the government has not been able to bring Railway Act, and also lacks manpower to operate the railway service. Nepal has brought two modern trains from India last September. Though, it was supposed to run between Jaynagar in Bihar and Kurtha in Dhanusa district from last December, marking the beginning of the first broad-gauge railway service in Nepal, the two modern Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains have been lying idle.

The Konkan Railway had delivered two modern DEMU trains, manufactured by Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai with modern amenities and latest AC-AC propulsion technology, to the Nepal Railway.

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