Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is set to inaugurate the Janakpur-Jayanagar-Kurtha railway line next month as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit has been reportedly cancelled due to his hectic schedule.
The chief minister of Indian state bordering Nepal will be leading “a wedding procession” from India to the Ram-Janaki Temple in Janakpur to celebrate the Bibaha Panchami, the day Ram and Sita were married, sources have confirmed. The move, according to experts, is an attempt to influence voters in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections set to commence in 2019.
The Department of Railways (DoR) has expedited the task of wet leasing rail to make it functional by then, though it is unclear whether Adityanath will be travelling via the rail to be wet leased by Nepal from the Indian railways. The railways department is set to hold negotiations with two Indian Public Sector Undertakings-Konkan Railway Corporation Limited and Rites Limited-to obtain a rail by that time.
The rail route had undergone a successful test run in the first week of August. A train with 53 bogies had arrived in Khajuri, Nepal from Jayanagar station in India.
“We have been working to make the railway functional within this year. All I can say is that we are engaged in government-to-government negotiation for quite some time to make it happen at the earliest,” Senior Divisional Engineer Aman Chitrakar, who is also the department spokesperson, told the Post without divulging details.
The department has decided to wet lease diesel-electric multiple units (DEMU), a multiple unit train powered by on-board diesel engine. The DEMU engine has capability of feeding current generated through the diesel power to electric traction motors on the wheels or bogies. According to a department source two DEMU units having a set of 10 coaches will be wet leased for the passenger rail connecting Nepal with India.
“DEMU is used in most of the Indian railways for ease of use,” an official said requesting anonymity as he was not allowed to discuss the matter until negotiations are over with the Indian companies.
Nepal is wet leasing the train as it lacks skilled and experienced staff to operate the railway.
The wet lease agreement will also have a human resources development package incorporated to ensure that the country produces technical manpower to operate a rail on its own in the long run. The company that wet leases the rail will be responsible for its operation and maintenance.
The Janakpur-Jayanagar-Kurtha broad-gauge railway line has been built at a cost of Rs8.8 billion with financial and technical support from the Indian government. The project has three phases. The first entails constructing the 34-km segment between Jayanagar and Kurtha. The second phase covers the 18-km segment from Kurtha to Bhangaha in Mahottari district. The third phase covers the 17-km segment from Bhangaha to Bardibas. Only 3km of the total length of the route is in India.