KATHMANDU, Jan 14: The government has said that it would seek soft loan from bilateral and multilateral development partners, including international investment banks, to develop a section of East-West Electric Railway -- Simara-Bardibas (108 km) -- and Simara-Birgunj (28 km) link line.
Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management, said this after receiving draft of the detailed project report (DPR) of the mega infrastructure project on Sunday.
“The draft DPR has paved the way for the government to talk with development partners and investment banks for developing the project,” Sitaula said.
A consortium of six consulting firms -- Chungsuk Engineering, Korea Railway Network Authority and Kunhwa Consulting and Engineering of South Korea; Consulting Technocrats of India; and Fulbright Consultancy and Shah Consulting of Nepal -- had prepared the draft.
According to the draft, Rs 120 billion would be required to develop these two sections.
The consortium has also suggested the government to develop the sections in different phases.
“Taking into consideration the high construction cost, it would be practical to develop the project in three phases -- 54 km segment in the first phase, another 54 km segment in the second phase and remaining 28 km in the third phase,” the draft DPR states. “It would take at least five years to construct each phase.”
The railway line will have two cross border links -- Simara-Birgunj-Raxaul and Bardibas-Janakpur-Jayanagar. It will have 11 stations in places such as Bhawanipur, Manahara, Parsauna, Chocha, Chnadranigahapur, Karmaiya, Dhukauli, Jabdi, Barantol and Belgachhi.
Minister for Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management Hridayesh Tripathi said land acquisition, energy crisis and availability of funds were the project´s major bottlenecks. “But we are serious about addressing these bottlenecks.”
Tripathi also said the government would study whether the alignments suggested by report are feasible from the land acquisition perspective. “The alignments should not go through the major towns and where land price is too high,” Tripathi said.
According to the report, the government should acquire 370.5 hectares of land for the project