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The construction of East-West Railway Project may be delayed over the DPR

The Company which is supposed to prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Nijgadh-Hetaunda-Bharatpur route has not yet been selected.

KATHMANDU: There has been significant delays in preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) of the central track under the East-West Electric Railway. The Company which is supposed to prepare the DPR report for Nijgadh-Hetaunda-Bharatpur route has not yet been selected.

This particular route is estimated to be about 5 kilometers. However, the feasibility report of the project that connects Pathlaiya, Hetauda and Bharatpur (located in Chitwan) was completed two years ago. Shortly after that, the process of company selection for the purpose of preparing DPR had began, unfortunately it has not been finalized yet.

On October 2018, the department had opened the tender for the selection of the company. Last March, various companies were shortlisted for DPR. Director General Balram Mishra, said that five companies had been shortlisted by the Railway Department. Besides, DPR has already been made for other sections of the railway except Nijgadh-Hetauda-Bharatpur. Director General, Mishra said that the company will be shortly selected and delegated its responsibilities within a few days.

Initially, the Railway Department had proposed to construct a railway through Pathalaya that went to jungle of Madi area. The proposed  route which was taken through the Chitwan National Park (which is on the World Heritage List), was widely criticized and thus rejected, as it would add challenges in the conservation of rare wildlife. UNESCO also opposed the proposal and appealed to seek a different alternative.

Although the project of the construction of East-West railway tracks started in 2008 but there are various economic, environmental, coordination challenges that has delayed its completion. The railway department says, due to the lack of coordination of inter-governmental bodies for the railway project, conflicts have been encountered between the locals and construction company when it comes to the subjects such as land acquisition and trees cutting for the tracks. Locally available resources are difficult to use, says the department.

The government has divided the East-West railway route into nine sections. Although the main sections total 945 Kilometers, if tracks of Pokhara-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Birgunj were to be connected, it would be a total of 1,376 kilometers.

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