Nepal-India railway project expected to extend in time . Construction of cross-border broad gauge railway line has come to a halt after landowners created trouble.
The railway project, which will be linked with the government’s East-West railway project via Itahari, requires around 42 bigha (27.7 hectares) of land at Budhnagar in Biratnagar Metropolitan City.
Most of the landowners have already relinquished their property and accepted compensation extended by the government. However, 21 landowners are saying compensation fixed by the government is too low
.These people have moved the Supreme Court, according to Santa Maharjan, an engineer of the Railway Department.
“This is expected to delay the project construction which is already running behind schedule,” Maharjan said.
The government has already acquired 119 bigha of land to build the railway line. It has, so far, distributed Rs530 million in compensation to landowners who surrendered their property for construction of the railway project
The land was acquired at prices ranging from Rs90,000 to Rs2.5 million per kattha.
The proposed cross-border railway line stretches 18.1 km from Katahari in Nepal to Bathnaha in India. Of this railway track, 13.1 km falls in Nepal. This line stretches from Budhnagar to Katahari.
The track of 18.1-km railway line has already been opened. Indian Railway Construction International, the project contractor, has also completed works related to construction of culvert and bridges.
Currently, a train station of 1,500 metres in length is also being built in Budhnagar.
“Other construction work is being delayed because of us,” Maharjan said, adding, “We hope the compensation-related case will be settled soon. Otherwise, the project would be delayed.”
The estimated cost of Katahari-Bathnaha railway project stands at around IRs2.8 billion.
The governments of Nepal and India had planned to complete the project within two years of launch of construction
Use of the broad-gauge railway for import of goods is expected to reduce transportation cost by 50 percent. This will eventually reduce the cost of production.
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