(TibetanReview.net, Jul29’20) – China has resumed its pre-feasibility study for a project to rail link occupied Tibet with the key cities in Nepal of Kathmandu and Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha located close to India’s border, reported indiatoday.in Jul 25. The project has been held up by cost and terrain concerns.
Pictures put out by China show it carrying out exploration and surveys of the railway project, with a team carrying out some kind of ground assessment at a site where the rail corridor was being planned, the report said.
Though planned way back in 2008, the project has made little headway due to difficult terrain and cost factors. Nepal, being in no position to bear the cost even as a loan, was hoping that China would bear its share of it as a grant.
Bridges and mountain tunnels are expected to constitute much of the length of the railway line.
The proposed railway line is meant to connect Tibet’s capital Lhasa to the Tibetan town near Nepal’s border of Keyrung (kyirong) through Shigatse to be then extended Kathmandu and Lumbini.
The cost, estimated at over USD 300 million, has been a major concern. The report cited sources as saying China wanted Nepal to share the costs, leading to the project’s delay.
The next deadline for the ambitious railway project is 2025.
Many were said to feel that before building the railway, China will come up with road projects in Nepal because of the feasibility and cost concerns.
India also has plans to build railway links to Nepal. Six cross border railway lines have been proposed between the two countries till date, with construction having begun for two of them, the report said.
On the status of the Tibet railway and other projects, the report quoted VK Yadav, Chairman of Nepal’s railway board, as saying, “We have prioritised all our infrastructure projects to super critical and critical projects, basically we are ensuring that all the infrastructure projects are expedited but for this latest project.. the complete details and timeline would be provided later.