India-Nepal to review progress of ongoing Rail Projects ahead of SAARC Summit

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal for the SAARC Summit next month, the Ministry of Railways has convened a high level meeting to discuss two long-pending important rail connectivity projects between India and Nepal. The Railways have been asked to prepare a detailed report on the progress made in the projects so far and issues that are hampering the completion of work.

The 18.6 km long Jogbani-Biratnagar (17.65 km) rail link connecting Bihar and Biratnagar in Nepal was sanctioned in 2010-11, but delay in land acquisition in Nepal has impeded progress of the project. Around 5.45 km of the stretch falls in India, while the remaining 13.60 km falls in Nepal. The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs.241 crore, and is likely to be completed by 2016, depending on land availability.

The second project connecting Jaynagar (Bihar) to Bardibas (Nepal) and extension to Bardibas, covering a distance of 68 km at a cost of Rs.470 crore, has been pending for over five years for various reasons. These projects are expected to benefit Nepal by boosting trans-border trade and promoting tourism.

“The meeting scheduled on Monday will review the progress of these projects and issues that are hampering their completion. There are issues related to land acquisition, but Nepal has assured that land will be acquired and handed over to IRCON to expedite the work,” said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding that the government wanted a detailed plan before the PM’s visit.

Modi is expected to attend the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu, which will be inaugurated on November 26.