India signs agreement with Nepal to help build Kathmandu-Raxaul Railway link

NEW DELHI: India has agreed to build a rail link between Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and Bihar’s Raxaul, which is close to Nepal’s border. According to reports, this move is to facilitate smoother passenger and cargo movement between the two countries.

On Friday an agreement was signed between Manjeev Singh Puri, Ambassador of India in Nepal and Secretary of Nepal’s physical infrastructure ministry. The MoU was signed in presence of PM Modi and his Nepalese conterpart KP Sharma Oli. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC summit. This was the third meeting between PM Modi and KP Oli in 2018.

India’s Konkan railways corporation Ltd will conduct the preliminary engineering and traffic survey of the planned 130 km line. The Indian embassy in Nepal reportedly informed in a released statement that The planned line will connect Indian border town of Raxaul, Eastern Bihar to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.  The planned rail track when completed will become the second rail track within the landlocked country. The only existing rail track is one 35 km stretch in its southern plains. It is notable here that nepal is land-locked and has a difficult himalayan terrain. China is also aligned with Nepal for building a rail link project.

The funding and the construction plans of the proposed rail line will be finalized after the Konkan railways submit their survey report. Two-third of the all the trade from Nepal is reportedly routed through Raxaul and for cargo, trucks are mostly used. The proposed rail link is expected to not only facilitate trade and trasport between the two neighbors but also  help to further cement healthy bilateral relationships.

In his last visit to Nepal in may, PM Modi had announced a special bus service from Janakpur to Ayodhya. He had also announced that India will link the Janakpur dham temple, which is revered as the birthplace of Sita to its list of tourism plan under the Ramayana circuit.

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