Senior officials of Nepal and China are expected to meet in Kathmandu in the second week of December to lay the groundwork to prepare the detailed project report of the much-hyped Kathmandu-Kyirong railway project.
The Nepali side will also ask the Chinese team to prepare the detailed engineering report of the proposed 75km railway project during the meeting, according to Balaram Mishra, director general of Department of Railways (DoRW).
“The project is highly complex and challenging but Nepal and China have expressed commitment to build it,” Mishra said. “We know that the project is not bankable. Yet both the governments have made a commitment to build it at any cost and we will not even be conducting an internal rate of return analysis for the project.”
A joint study team comprising Chinese officials, an engineering team from Chinese consulting firm, China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group, officials and engineers from the DoRW, and a local consultant had submitted the pre-feasibility report of the project on August 10. That report had said the railway project was “feasible”. Since then, the two countries have not further discussed the issue.
The project is estimated to cost about Rs 275 billion, according to an initial field study conducted last November by a Chinese technical team. The study had further said that around 98.55 per cent section of the railway would be covered by tunnels and bridges.
However, Nepal and China are yet to discuss construction and financial modalities of the project. China has expressed interest to construct the railway project with subsidised loans. But Nepal has been insisting that the project be built with Chinese grant.