Rail purchase by Jan 10: Transport minister

KATHMANDU, Dec 31: Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth has said that the government will sign a rail procurement deal with India by January 10.

Speaking at a press meet organized to make public the achievements of the ministry in the first trimester of the current fiscal year on Sunday, Mahaseth informed the media about the process of purchasing new rail for Jayanagar-Kurtha Railway Line (34 km) instead of leasing one from India.

“It takes a minimum of two and half months to supply the first train to Nepal. It will take many more months to bring the next one,” he said, adding: “We have already received price quotation from the Government of India.”
The government has allocated Rs 500 million in the budget for the current fiscal year to purchase train.

Mahaeseth denied to inform how much the rail will cost, but said that it will be lower than the Rs 500 million allocated in the budget.

According to ministry officials, an Indian delegation is arriving in Kathmandu on January 10 to hold negotiations for rail procurement.

Sources privy to the issue told Republica that the ministry has received proposal to supply train. They, however, added that no deal will be signed immediately as the minister has claimed.

The broad gauge 34-kilometer railway line that connects India’s Jayanagar with Kurtha of Janakpur is almost ready. It will be extended to Bardibas in the near future and connected to the proposed East-West Highway which is being planned separately.

Officials of the Department of Railways say that the appropriate locomotive for short hauling on this route will be diesel electrified multiple unit (DEMU) train. But Minister Mahaseth did not provide any specific details of the train.