Chinese firm FSDI Chiang appointed as Consultant for Nepal’s East-West Railway project

Detailed Project Report of Nepal’s East-West Railway project in 15 months!

KHATMANDU: The government of Nepal has started to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) of Butwal-Gaddachauki section of East-West Electric Railway Project.

With the target of completing the DPR of the project within 15 months, the Department of Railways (DoRW) has started the work from the beginning of this fiscal year.

According to Prakash Upadhyaya, spokesperson for DoRW, Chinese firm FSDI Chiang has been appointed as the consultant of the project.

The government has initiated the study of 420 kilometre section of the mega project and the study of the eastern part of the project has already been completed.

“We are aiming to finalise the DPR within 15 months, and if everything runs smoothly, we should be able to meet the deadline,” Upadhyaya said.

According to DoRW, the process of preparing DPR of the first section of the project is in final stage. Preparing DPR of Kakadvitta-Bardibash section of the project will be completed within this September. “The study of this section will be completed within this Dashain,” said Upadhyaya.

According to DoRW, 70 per cent of track opening of the 30-kilometre Bardibash-Lalbandi sector of Bardibash-Simara section of the project was completed in last fiscal year 2016-17. DoRW plans to complete the track opening of the entire section within this fiscal.

“Land acquisition and issues regarding forest area are the major hurdles at the moment,” Upadhyaya added. He also said that land acquisition policy of government is also hindering progress of the project.

The mega project also includes the 22-kilometre Itahari-Biratnagar section. The government had mentioned in the budget of last fiscal year that the construction works of the mega project would be started after preparation of DPR within that year. However, it now appears that the DPR of the project would be completed only around mid-way through fiscal 2018-19.

Meanwhile, officials at DoRW said that resource limitations had also interrupted the works. “We have limited budget but multiple mega projects in the pipeline. This is the biggest challenge,” they said.

Government has allocated Rs four billion for railway development, which includes land compensation and development budget. “To complete the planned projects without any financial constraints, we need at least Rs 20 billion per year,” the officials said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.