A Chinese company has been given the task of carrying out pre-feasibility study of Kathmandu-Kerung railway.
A joint meeting of officials of Nepal and China held last week appointed China Railway First Survey and Design Institute to conduct pre-feasibility study of the railway line that connects Nepal's capital city with the Chinese railway network.
Technicians and officials of the company are expected to arrive in Kathmandu within a couple of weeks to begin their work. The company has been asked to submit its report by August-end.
Spokesperson of Department of Railway Prakash Bhakta Upadhyaya, who returned from China on Saturday, said that the company will start its work within a couple of weeks. "All the cost of the study will be borne by the Chinese government. The technicians have stressed the need to conduct multiple studies for building the 72-km railway line which passes through difficult geography," he added.
The study will be followed by two other studies -- feasibility study and preparation of detailed project report, according to Upadhyaya.
Bilateral meetings and discussions for building the railway started after the erstwhile foreign minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara signed an agreement with China to build the cross-country railway line.
After Nepal and China agreed to take the project forward, India has offered to build Raxaul- Kathmandu railway line. The Indian government made the announcement during India visit of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli last month.
Experts, however, have said that this ambitious project is like to cost Rs 300 billion.
According to My Republica, Nepal will seek investment support for the project from the Chinese government during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's official visit of China if studies find the project feasible. The date of the visit has yet to be fixed.
"Despite huge construction cost, we have found Chinese officials very enthusiastic toward this project," Upadhyaya said.
Along with Upadhyaya, Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure, Madhusudan Adhikari, and Director General of Department of Railway, Ananta Acharya were in the team.Chinese technicians had visited the project site in October. They had also made an observation visit to the proposed site of Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway.