Train operation to miss deadline

By Modnath Dhakal

train roadKathmandu, June 16: The operation of train service in Janakpur-Jayanagar section won't happen by the end of this month as the Department of Railway (DoR) had claimed in March this year. 

After receiving Rs. 350 million in addition to the previously provided Rs. 500 million and the government's green signal to buy two trains from India in a government-to-government contract, the DoR had planned to bring in two train sets by the end of June and start rail service in the railway track that has been completed many months ago.

Earlier, the department had said that the locomotives would come to Nepal by mid-May but later postponed the deadline citing delay in getting the Cabinet's approval, and the process to communicate with the Indian train building company, invite the proposal and evaluate it.
Earlier, the government had successfully conducted the final test operation of the 35-km long Janakpur-Jayanagar railway track. Machines were brought from India for the test since the government had no locomotives to start the service.
The government had decided to buy trains after its plan to procure trains from India in a wet lease could not be materialised.
The DoR said that the delay in signing the contract agreement with the Indian-government owned Konkan Railway Corporation Limited and recent general elections in India pushed the deadlines further.
"We have signed the contract agreement with the Indian company but it has not yet asked for the advanced payment to build trains. But, the department is hopeful that it the process will be completed in a week," said Aman Chitrakar, Senior Divisional Engineer and Spokesperson at the DoR.
The long period of general elections in India delayed the process, he said.
According to him, the first set of train will come to Nepal within three months. It means the train will arrive approximately after a year from the initial announcement of operation.
The DoR is buying DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit) trains at the cost of Rs. 846.59 million. These machines with 5 car sets have double engines at both sides.
The department also plans to revive the Railway Company that used to operate the Janakpur-Jayanagar train service to use it as a human resource development centre.
However, there is no alternative to bring technical manpower from India along with the trains.  

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