November 20: Authorities of India and Nepal held the 4th India-Nepal Joint Working Group meeting on Railway Cooperation via video-conferencing on Thursday (November 19).
The Indian Embassy in Nepal said in a statement that the joint working group 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),” reads the statement.
The section, originally a narrow gauge built by British India, was upgraded by the Government of India to broad gauge at a cost of over IRs 380 crores (NRs 6080 million).
The Government of Nepal 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 Government of India at a cost of NRs 3200 million, the statement added.
Both sides further agreed to expedite the work for completion of the other ongoing cross-border railway project between Jogbani in India and Biratnagar in Nepal under a grant assistance of NRs 5884 million.
The statement says that the JWG co-chairs agreed to extend cooperation in the railway sector, including in the capacity building and training of Nepali railway personnel in India and in Nepal as per the requirements of Nepal.
According to the Indian Embassy in Nepal, the Indian side was led by Dr Manoj Singh, executive director (Traffic Transportation-F) at the Ministry of Railways of India, and the Nepali side was led by engineer Gopal Prasad Sigdel, joint secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. Other stakeholders who participated from both sides included senior officials from Indian Railway, Ministry of External Affairs, Embassy of India in Kathmandu, Konkan Railways and IRCON on the Indian side and director general of the Department of Railway (DoRw), general manager of Nepal Railway Company (NRC), officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs representing the Nepali side.