September 19: The two sets of train purchased by the government with an investment of Rs 1 billion has remained unused for a year. It has been one year since the train was purchased from Konkan Railway Corporation, an Indian railway manufacturer on September 18, 2020.
Although the government has said it will operate the trains, they are still unused as the operation date has been pushed back time and again. In 2010, the Government of India had announced plans to build railways at five different checkpoints on the Nepal-India border. Accordingly, the trains were bought to operate along the 34 km Janakpur-Jayanagar section in the first phase. The two sides had also successfully concluded the test operation of the trains.
The government is planning to operate railway in a total of 69 kilometer-route including the 34 kilometers from Jayanagar in India to Dhanusha's Kurtha in the first phase. In the second phase, the trains will be operated along 18 kilometers from Kurtha to Bhangha in Mahottari and in the third phase another 17 kilometers will be added in the route from Bhangha to Bardibas for a total of 69 kilometers. However, due to poor preparation of Nepal, the trains have been kept in a useless condition in the parking lot although they have already been purchased. Although the government has bought the trains, their operation is still uncertain.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Keshav Kumar Sharma said that even though the trains were brought to Nepal, it was not possible to operate them due to lack of manpower and problems in recruitment. He said that some human resource has already been trained and other preparations have been made so that the basis for running the trains has been laid now.
“Preparations are almost complete but it will be finalized by the political leadership,” he said. The ministry has been without a minister since July 13. The ministry is preparing to speed up railway operations after the appointment of a minister.
General Manager of Nepal Railway Company Limited Niranjan Jha said that it is not possible to pinpoint the date for operating the trains. “It is not yet possible to set a date,” Jha said, “It is not possible because there is no law to operate the trains at the moment and there are technical problems.”
He said that the decision to run the trains should be taken by the Prime Minister. Moreover, he said that the handover of the physical infrastructure of the railway section between the two countries is yet to be done. It is necessary to resolve these issues first including the formulation of laws for the railway fares.