Kathmandu: Nepal has managed to complete only 20 percent of works on its side of the Biratnagar-Jogbani railway project.
Officials at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructures and Transport (MoPIT) say works on laying of foundation stones for two bridges, construction of small culverts and bridges, and soil-filling on the 13-kilometer stretch in the Nepali side have been completed so far.
However, progress on the three-kilometer section from Jogbani in the Indian side stands at 68 percent, according to a press release issued after a meeting of the coordination committee of two railway projects on Friday.
The committee is a group comprising officials from the both the countries. IRCON, an Indian company, is carrying out construction works.
Along with Biratnagar-Jogbani, works on Bardibas-Jayanagar cross border railway line is also underway.
Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary of MoPIT, said they have to yet acquire land for railway station in Katahariya and clear a stretch occupied by about two dozen squatter households along the route. He, however, assured that the project would be completed within one and half years.
“Nepal has assured that required land for the project free from all the encumbrances will be acquired and handed over to IRCON at the earliest to expedite the work in both the projects,” the statement said.
Nepal has also expressed commitment to acquire land for the 16-kilometer stretch of Bijulpura to Bardiwas for Bardibas-Jayanagar railway project. Works to replace the exiting narrow gauge railway line with the new wide gauge line are underway on Jayanagar-Bijulpura section. Along with earthworks, construction of station building, staff quarter and bridges are also going on.
Sitaula also said the government is still to acquire land for Janakpur-Bardibas section.
It is believed that both the undergoing projects will not only ease cross-border transportation but also help to bring down costs of transportation of goods.
Meanwhile, the government has started earthworks for the construction of five-kilometer stretch from Bardiwas to Hetauda as part of the East West Railway project on its own.
Likewise, plans are afoot to construct separate three railway lines to ease cross-border transportation with assistance of the Indian government. Detailed studies on Kakadbhitta-Jalpaigudi and railway lines linking Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj to nearest Indian towns have already begun.