KATHMANDU, April 25 (Xinhua) — Nepal and China should work closely to extend the Qinghai-Tibet railway toward Nepal as the railway is expected to arrive Gyirong county of Tibetan Autonomous Region of China by 2020, experts here have said.
Speaking at an interaction entitled “Nepal’s Railway Dream” organized by Xinhua News Agency Kathmandu Bureau on Sunday, Nepal’s Former Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudel called for extending the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Nepal.
“The Qinghai-Tibet Railway which has now reached Shigatse, is going to be extended up to Gyirong county by 2020 as announced by the Chinese government last year. The railway should be extended up to Kathmandu,” he said.
“Nepal should seek support from China to develop the infrastructure projects including railways on the China-Nepal border. It should be taken as the top priority as it will have a long-term significance in the economic development.”
Connecting Kathmandu with the Chinese railways is economically and geographically viable, Paudyal said.
“Nepal and China should work closely on development of cross-border railways in the near future to enhance economic cooperation,” Ananta Acharya, director general of Nepal’s Railway Department said.
Transport Expert Surya Raj Acharya was of the view that Nepal needs to develop standard gauge railways learning from the experience of China.
“Nepal should learn from the experience of China on high-speed railways. China can extend technical as well as expertise support to Nepal in this regard,” Acharya said.
General Secretary of the China Study Centre, Upendra Gautam, urged major political parties in Nepal to have a common vision on development of mega infrastructure projects including the construction of new railway networks in the country and stressed linking Qinghai-Tibet with Nepal.
“It needs political will and commitment from the top leadership of Nepal to connect the country with the Chinese railways. I urge major parties to come up with the common position on development of the country,” he said.
Gautam added that Nepal needs to actively join the One Belt One Road Initiative for achieving economic prosperity.
Former Transport Secretary Tulsi Prasad Sitaula said that Nepal should work to develop infrastructures on its own side to connect the Chinese railway which is expected to arrive toward the China-Nepal border in the next few years.
Former Commerce Secretary Purushottam Ojha noted that the recent Transit and Transport Agreement signed between China and Nepal gave a new option to Nepal to conduct trade with other countries via Chinese sea ports.
“Now Nepal should work on developing infrastructure on its own side for better connectivity with China and other countries through developing railways and roads,” he said.
Nepal’s Former Ambassador to United Nations, Shambhuram Simkhada, said that extension of Chinese rail links to Nepal and cross border power grid between China and Nepal could be of the greatest long-term significance for both countries.