KATHMANDU, June 23: The government is preparing to enact Railway Bill through ordinance, envisioning formation of an autonomous body to construct and manage the railway, and provide fresh impetus to develop mass transportation.
The government has already assigned numerous firms to carry out feasibility study for East-West railway system and develop underground Metro train system in the Kathmandu Valley.
“We forwarded a draft of the bill to the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) for its consent on Friday,” said a source at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM). “We will submit it to the cabinet for enactment through ordinance as soon as we get MoLJ´s consent,” the source told Republica.
Among others, the bill envisages a Railway Board (RB) to look after all the development and management of the railway in the country. It proposes that that board will be chaired by the Minister for Physical Planning Works and Transport Management.
The board will be executing the national-pride projects such as east-west railway, Jayanagar-Bijulpura railway and Kathmandu-Pokhara railway and Kathmandu Metro Railway (KMR). “These are the projects that government has already planned,” the official said.
The board can expand and add other projects in the future, if it deems necessary and feasible.
As per the act that has been sent to the MoLJ, the seven member board comprises secretary of the MoPPWTM, finance secretary, commerce secretary, home secretary and two railway experts, .
“The enactment of bill will lead to the dissolution of Department of Railway (DoR) and Nepal Railway Company Ltd,” one of the officials at the MoPPWTM said. As the DoR was established without any legal provision, it can be dissolved through cabinet decision.
Tulsi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the MoPPWTM has confirmed that the ministry has pushed for the enactment of railway Bill through ordinance. “This act is necessary to carry out the railway projects. Though we have Railway Act 1961, it has become obsolete,” he said.
According to the draft bill, the government will also set up a special fund to support the operations of the RB. It hopes the RB to be self-dependent in the long run.