KATHMANDU, Sept 26: The government has finally requested the Indian government to initiate the tender process for the upgradation of Janakpur-Bijulpura railway and extension of the link to Bardibas, a major junction along the East-West Highway.
Previously, the Indian government had cancelled the tender process twice after the government could not provide land for the project. The Indian government had allocated Rs 600 million in the previous fiscal year for the purpose.
The government, which has repeatedly failed to allocate funds for land acquisition, has now written a letter to the Indian government to start the bidding process to select a contractor.
"The ministry requested the Indian government to begin the tender process as we have almost acquired land for the project," an official at the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM) told Republica on Tuesday.
The Indian government had agreed to upgrade the 51-km railway project during the official visit of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav to India in February 2010. However, the project was continuously delayed due to the government´s inability to acquire land for the project.
"The government has started compensating the land owners in the project area," Ram Prasad Lamsal, director general of the Department of Railways (DoR), said.
"The land acquisition process will complete by mid-November." DoR has estimated that land acquisition in the Bijulpura-Bardibas area would cost the government Rs 1.25 billion. Similarly, it needs to acquire a total of 220 hectares of land in Janakpur and Bijulpura to upgrade the existing railway track.
In a separate development, the Indian government has awarded the contract for construction of the 13-km Jogbani-Biratnagar railway line to an Indian company, Lamsal disclosed.
"We have been informed that the Indian government has signed an agreement with an Indian contractor to develop the railway (Jogbani-Biratnagar) track," Lamsal said.
Likewise, the government has initiated the process to select a consultant to carry out a detailed survey -- a part of feasibility study -- of the Pathalaiya-Lumbini railway project.