Country will get rail gift by Daishain or Tihar : Er. Balram Mishra

Director General, Railway Department

Interview

The rail purchased from India has arrived Nepal. How is it operating?

According to the railway procurement process, they should have arrived in Nepal 6-7 months in advance. The delayed was due to Covid-19. Naturally, the day the train arrived at Janakpurdham, there was an atmosphere of great joy. The way the people there welcomed the train was unprecedented and we are very happy. But, at first, there were no such tracks and trains. Everything is new now. Due to COVID-19, staff recruitment and decision-making processes have been shifting. We are now in the final stages of recruitment. Our team selects employees as soon as possible. Not all the work is done by our employees, some employees have to be taken from India as well. If everything goes as planned, we are trying to run the train between Dashain and Tihar. This will be a big gift for the country on the occasion of Dashain or Tihar.

There were also reports of various structures being destroyed or stolen before the train service started. Why was the railway structures not protected?

I also agree to some extent that railway structures have been destroyed or stolen. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been protected. Without protection, it would have been completely demolished. Security cannot be provided on every meter. The biggest problem is the lack of legislation in that regard. Railway law is currently under consideration in Parliament. Discussions are also underway in the parliamentary committees. The biggest problem is the lack of legislation in that regard. Railway law is currently under consideration in Parliament. Discussions are also underway in the parliamentary committees. We had to realize that this is the property of the people. A small railway error can kill thousands of people. So everything is updated before the train operates.

So these structures will not be operational until they are built?

Until the structures are built, the railway cannot be operated. The train was running smoothly. The rail system is a very safe corridor.It is said that technical staff will be brought from India for railway operation. How many other staff are there in Nepal?Earlier, we had demanded experts in Nepal but no one applied. After all, there is no expert on railways in Nepal. Therefore, there is no manpower in Nepal. Until we had it, we had already tried to get it from India, but now there is a natural agreement. That is in the final stages. We will continue to prepare along with our manpower. Indian staffs do not always run our trains. So we train our manpower for recruitment. Once our manpower is ready, we return it to the Indian staff.

Preparations were already underway to start the second chapter of railway operation in Nepal. Why don’t we start preparing our own manpower while we are preparing to run the train again?

Rail operation is a complex discipline. The train does not run as it used to. Now we don’t have rules and laws, everything has to be made. We didn’t even have a way to recruit staff. While making the law, Covid’s outbreak came which we could not prepare in time.

How long can our technicians and other manpower be ready to operate the train?

All employees are in the process of recruitment. Bringing in from India means only a handful of expert staff. We bring only the necessary staff from India. We conduct training for the replacement of the employees we bring. When our manpower is trained and able to take full charge of railway operations, the Indian workers go back. Therefore, we only bring staff from India for a short time.

What is your strategy for effective rail operations this time around?

Nepal Railway Company has been formed to operate the railway service in an effective manner. Staff management is being done. Adequate budget has been provided to them, the train has arrived in Nepal, the railway track has also been constructed and it is modern. After everything is done, the train starts running in a systematic way in Nepal. Railway board is being formed in future. After that, like in India, all the work related to railways is done by one organization. Then it becomes more organized. Now it is in the early stages. At present, there is talk of operating not only Janakpur-Jayanagar but also the entire country.

Even though the railway line from Jayanagar to Kurtha is ready, how is the railway from Kurtha to Bijalpura and from Bijalpura to Bardibas section being constructed?

Jayanagar-kurtha is ready. Bijalpura from Kurtha is in the final stage. Preliminary preparations are underway for Bardiwas from Bijalpura. About 50 percent of the land acquisition work has been completed and the rest is in the process of being completed. As soon as that happens, the Indian side will immediately move forward and the train will reach Bardibas within the next one to two years. Our train will reach Bijalpura in a few months. The work is now in the final stages. Therefore, the work of the railway is going on at a very fast pace.

How many compensation disputes have been resolved regarding land acquisition while the railway is under construction?

There is no dispute about the compensation for land acquisition up to Bijalpura. Everything is salty. Compensation for land acquisition from Bijalpura to Bardiwas is being determined. There is a little bit of controversy in Bardiwas in the process of determination. We are trying to solve that. Land acquisition is a slightly more complex issue. No matter how much we do, there will always be some disputes and we will have to resolve them. There are enough laws for that, we are managing accordingly.

Apart from this, how are other railways being prepared?

The Government of Nepal has given a lot of responsibility to the Railway Department. Accordingly, more than one thousand kilometers of east-west electric railway is in the final stage. Now we were also in the process of tendering from Inarwa to Kankadvitta in Sunsari. But we have postponed it now because of Covid. As soon as the Covid becomes normal, the work begins. Similarly, the Indian team is ready to come for DPR on the Kathmandu-Raxaul railway service.In a few days, they will come and start its work. The situation is similar in Kathmandu-Kerung. The only reason for the delay is because of Covid. Similarly, studies are being carried out for Kathmandu-Pokhara railway. The first phase report has also been received. Similarly, Pokhara-Lumbini is in the same situation. After all, everything is in the process of preliminary and detailed study. We have also started construction of structures in a few places. Work has already started in two places of five border checkpoints with the help of Government of India and is in the final stage. Then it is said to be done in the second phase of three places. Work from Kankadbhitta to Jalpaiguri, Bhairahawa-Nautanwa and Rupadiya-Nepalgunj will start in the second phase. In Kathmandu, 77-78 kilometers of metro rail has also been studied. Out of that, we have taken forward the work of DPR of 22 kilometers. Thus, the railway department is moving ahead with the work. Gradually, preparations are being made to lay the railway network in Nepal.

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