Thursday, November 19, 2020

India to train Nepali technicians to operate cross-border passenger railway service

 India is going to train Nepali railway personnel in Nepal and India.

As Nepal has been preparing to resume passenger railway service on the Kurtha-Jayanagar section of cross-border railway that has been stopped since last seven years, India has agreed to help train the railway personals.

During the fourth India-Nepal Joint Working Group meeting on Railway Cooperation held today via video-conferencing, India has agreed to help in capacity development of Nepali railway personnel and provide training in India, according to a press note issued by the Indian embassy in Kathmandu.

India has also helped upgraded railways into broad gauge from the earlier narrow gauge line. The railway service on narrow gauge was halted after the renovation and upgrading works began.

The Indian side was led by executive director (Traffic Transportation-F) under Ministry of Railways of Indian government Dr Manoj Singh and Nepali side was led by joint secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Government Er Gopal Prasad Sigdel. 

Other stakeholders, who participated from both sides included senior officials from Indian Railway, Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, Konkan Railways and IRCON on the Indian side and director general at the Department of Railway (DoRw), general manager of Nepal Railway Company (NRC), officials from Ministry of Home and Foreign Affairs of Government from Nepali side.

The government has already purchased two diesel-electric multiple unit rail sets in September and has hired some technical human resources from India for their operation. However, the rail sets have not been operational due to lack of human resources. The rail sets have remained unused currently due to lack of adequate preparation on the part of the government.

Both sides discussed the technical preparedness of the completed 34-km long section of the railway line between Kurtha in Nepal and Jaynagar in India for the purpose of running passenger train services including the standard operating procedures that need to be put in place for resumption of passenger train services, the press note reads, adding that the Nepal Railway Company will operate the passenger train along this railway line. “The section, originally a narrow gauge built by British India, was upgraded by Indian government to broad gauge at a cost of over Rs 380 cror Indian Currency (Rs 6.80 billion).”

Nepal has recently procured two DEMU train sets from India for running on this railway link. “Both sides further agreed to expedite the work for completion of the other ongoing cross-border railway project between Jogbani in India and Biratnagar being built with a grant assistance of Rs. 5.88 billion,” according to the press note.

The joint working group also reviewed the cross border rail link projects between Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar including discussions on the mutual facilitation and coordination required for completion of the work on remaining sections from Kurtha to Bilajpura which is being constructed by India at the cost of Rs 3.2 billion.

Nepal and India, on the occasion, also agreed to see potential of developing Birgunj-Kathmandu railway line. In February, Indian government allocated funding to carry out a detailed project report on the proposed Raxaul-Kathmandu electric rail project.

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