India-Nepal rail link: Janakpur to be major tourist attraction

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The Hindu pilgrimage centre of Janakpur Dham, considered to be the birthplace of Sita, will be one of the main attractions of the rail link between India and Nepal that was resumed on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated passenger rail services between Jaynagar in India and Kurtha in Nepal.

This will be the first broad gauge passenger rail service in Nepal.

“Prime Minister Deubaji and I also agreed to give priority to trade and cross-border connectivity initiatives in all respects. The beginning of the Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line is a part of this,” Modi said at a joint press meet with the Nepalese prime minister here.

“Such schemes will make a great contribution for a smooth, hassle-free exchange of people between the two countries,” he added.

Railway ministry officials said the rail link between the two neighbouring countries is part of an overall strategy for improved border management, planned and integrated development of border areas and infrastructure in a selective and phased manner.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is funding the network between Jaynagar in Bihar and Barbidas in Nepal at a cost of Rs 784 crore.

The length of the Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link is 68.72 km, of which a 2.975-km stretch is in India and a 65.745-km stretch is in Nepal.

The route will pass through Bihar’s Madhubani district and on the Nepal side, it will go through Danusha, Mahotari and Sirha districts.

Jaynagar is an existing terminal station of the Samastipur-Jaynagar broad gauge section of the East Central Railway and is the last rail head located close to the Indo-Nepal border.

A narrow-gauge train service run by the government of Nepal was operational from Jaynagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal till March 2014.

The Jaynagar-Kurtha section (34.9 Km) of the project, which was flagged off on Saturday, has Janakpur, the famous pilgrimage centre located around 30 km from Jayanagar.

The cost of track, signalling, station building and other infrastructure for the Jaynagar-Kurtha section is around Rs 383 crore.

The section will have a total of eight stations and six halt stations. It will also have 47 road crossings and 15 major bridges. Further, there are 127 minor bridges on the route.

According to the initial plans, for passenger trains, a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour will be allowed, while for freight trains, it will be 65 kmph.

To operate the rail service on the route, two sets of DEMU passenger rakes built in the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai have been supplied by the Konkan Rail Corporation of India Limited (KRCL). Each DEMU rake has one air-conditioned coach and four non-air-conditioned coaches. The seating capacity in one DEMU set is 300 and the standing capacity is 700.

The two rakes were handed over to Nepal on September 18, 2020. The cost of the two rakes is Rs 52.4 crore, which has been borne by Nepal.

The section has been handed over to the government of Nepal and all operations and maintenance activities will be undertaken by the Nepal Rail Company Limited (NRCL) — a company run by the government of Nepal — as was the case prior to March 2014, when this stretch was a narrow-gauge line.

Commercial activities such as fixing fares and sale of tickets are also the responsibility of the NRCL and all revenues will accrue to it.

In addition to this rail link, survey work to provide rail connectivity between the two countries has been done in the Jogbani (Bihar) to Biratnagar (Nepal), Nepalganj Road (Uttar Pradesh) to Nepalganj, New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) to Kakrabitta via Panitanki, Nautanwa (Uttar Pradesh) to Bhairhwa sections.

Gauge conversion of the Jainagar-Bijalpur (52 km) section and the extension of the same to Bardibas (17 km) have also been done. PTI ASG RC

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.