Nepal‚ South Korea plan to ink deal to help facilitate railway service

Nepal‚ South Korea plan to ink deal to help facilitate railway service

The government is planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) – with South Korea – that will help develop a national railway network. Though both the governments have already approved the draft MoU to be signed soon, it will be signed once the South Korean government fixes time. The agreement is expected to help Nepal receive support in capacity development, skill enhancement of government officials, and technology transfer in railway sector. The agreement will also help government complete mega railway projects like East-West or Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway and Kathmandu Metro. A team from Korea is visiting Nepal – to sign the MoU once an appropriate date is fixed – according to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport secretary Tulasi Prasad Sitaula. The MoU will be signed in Nepal, he said, adding that the agreement would be a ‘basic understanding on mutual cooperation’ for the railway sector’s development. "A committee will be formed – one each in Nepal and South Korea – and they will meet once a year to discuss on railway affairs." Earlier, Nepal and South Korea had agreed in principal to sign a cooperation memorandum in August 2012. The government is currently preparing a detailed project report (DPR) of different sections of the proposed 945.24-km East-West railway that will link Kakarbhitta in the eastern Jhapa to Gaddachouki in the western Mahendranagar. The railway line will pass through through Itahari, Bardibas, Simara, Tamsariya, Bhairahawa, Lumbini, Butwal, Kohalpur and Attariya. The government has allocated Rs 1.4 billion budget for DPR, compensation to land and start some construction works in the current fiscal year. According to the Department of Railway, the detailed project report of Simara-Tamsariya and Tamsariya-Bhairahawa-Butwal is going on and soon it is preparing the detailed project report of 420-km railway line on western part from Butwal within the current fiscal year. However, the detailed project report of 136-km Bardibas-Simara-Birgunj section had already been completed last fiscal year.
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