Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 6 Nov 2017) – Nepal and China have started discussions to initiate survey of Kyirong-Kathmandu railway under the Belt and Road Initiative of the government of China.
China has undertaken this ambitious project under the ”One belt-one Road” project, dream of President Xi Jinping to connect the world with an aim to comprehensive development.
A delegation led by the Deputy Administrator of the National Railway Administration (NRA) Zheng Jian held discussions with the authorities of the Ministry of physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) and Department of Railways to take forward the project. It is the first intergovernmental meeting between the two countries at the technical level, according to MoPIT officials.
In the meeting with the officials of the MoPIT and Department of Railways here on Tuesday, the Chinese delegation said that they plan to expand the rail network from Shigatse to Kyirong by 2020 and that will be connected to Kathmandu as per the request of Nepal government, The Himalan Times has reported.
The Chinese delegation is scheduled to go for site visit from Friday. During the site visit, the Chinese team will carry out the study on technical viability of the project.
The government of China agreed to provide financial and technical support for the feasibility study and preparation of detailed project report (DPR) of the proposed Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini Railway Project.
The distance between Kathmandu and Kyirong (China) is 174 kilometres.According to Rajendra Raj Sharma, spokesperson for the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, after the site inspection, feasibility study of the project will begin. “As the government of China has already agreed to prepare DPR of the project, Kathmandu-Kyirong railway is no more a far-fetched dream for us.”
DPR of the project will give a clear picture of the cost and financial viability of the project.
Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that the Chinese government has given due priority to establish robust connectivity with Nepal under the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Nepal can get technical support from the government of China and financial assistance from China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to realise the project,” a high-level source at MoFA said. “However, the Chinese side is also awaiting our Cabinet’s decision to take forward the project, which will express high-level political commitment for this particular project.”
Though Nepal requested expansion of cross-border railway network during the high-level visits in each other’s country and it has also been included in the fiscal budget since previous fiscal, the Cabinet’s decision will spread the positive message and encourage Chinese authorities to expedite the project, as per MoFA sources.