India and Nepal have signed two agreements worth USD 3.15 billion, aimed at boosting cross-border train services and to improve regional connectivity and trade.
- The proposed rail line as counter to China’s bid to expand railways upto Kathmandu.
- A total of 136 to 198 km rail line will be laid to connect Raxual and Kathmandu.
- The construction of the Jaynagar-Kurtha railway line was funded by India.
- India and Nepal are mulling at least five different cross-border railway lines.
- The agreements were inked during the 5th meeting of a joint working group and the 7th meeting of a project steering committee between two countries held in New Delhi on October 6-7, to review the implementation of cross-border railway links and bilateral cooperation in the railways sector.
Objective of standard operating procedures (SOPs)
i.To finalise the technical aspects of running passenger trains in Jaynagar-Kurtha region.
ii.To serve as a guiding document for the early start of services in upcoming cross-border railway links.
Memorandum of understanding
i.The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a Final Location Survey (FLS) for a proposed broad gauge railway line between Raxaul and Kathmandu to boost connectivity between the two countries.
ii.The two countries reviewed progress on the Raxaul-Kathmandu railway link and discussed several phase-II railway link projects and agreed to enhance technical cooperation in the railways sector, including in the areas of capacity-building, logistics support and training of Nepal’s railway personnel.
iii.Both sides also discussed ongoing work funded by the Indian government on the Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar broad gauge cross-border railway lines.
iv.The technical preparedness of a 34-km section of the railway line from Jaynagar in India to Kurtha in Nepal for starting passenger train services was also reviewed.
v.Nepal will facilitate the completion of the 17.25-km railway line from Kurtha to Bilajpura at the earliest. Both sides also agreed to expedite work to complete the 18.6-km railway line from Jogbani to Biratnagar.
President – Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Capital – Kathmandu
Currency – Nepalese rupee