New Delhi: Giving a boost to bilateral ties, India on Friday (October 22) handed over the 34.9 km-long cross-border rail link connecting Jaynagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Nepal to the Nepal government.
Ambassador of India to Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Nepal Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ms Renu Kumari Yadav witnessed the occasion.
On behalf of the Government of India, the executing agency for the project, IRCON International Ltd, handed over the assets to Nepal Railway Company Limited.
This move is expected to enhance trade and commerce activities and help people to people linkages between the two neighbours.
The Jaynagar-Kurtha section is part of the 68.7km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardidas rail link built under the Government of India''s grant assistance of NPR 8.77 billion.
Under the grant assistance of India, the gauge conversion of a 34.9 km narrow gauge section into broad gauge, from Jaynagar in India to Kurtha in Nepal, has now been completed, Indian Embassy sources said.
This section was earlier a narrow gauge rail link between Jayanagar and Bijapur. There are eight stations and halts in the Jaynagar-Kurtha section, which includes the historically important city of Janakpur.
An Indian embassy statement in Kathmandu said – "Cross-border rail linkages are an important facet of India-Nepal Development cooperation, which include Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link and Jogbani-Biratnagar (18.6 km) rail link, both being constructed under Government of India grant assistance".
The Indian government has spent nearly Rs 550 crores to extend 17 km of the 68.72 km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway project to improve rail connectivity between India and Nepal, this was officially started in January this year.
It may be stated that until 2014, a narrow-gauge service ran between Jayanagar and Janakpur operated by Nepal.
The Indian Railways later extended full cooperation to Nepal in running the BG service by sharing the know-how and operations and maintenance processes with Nepal Railway Company and imparting training to Nepal officials.
A draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for starting passenger train operations in the section was prepared and shared with Nepal Railways by the Indian Railways.