Jul 24, 2018-The Department of Railways (DoR) forecasts land acquisition for the proposed railway network connecting Nepal, India and China a major hurdle.
The Department says this hurdle would need quick resolution. It suggests an alternative solution before starting construction work, if the government aims to complete railway projects on time.
The Department foresees land acquisition issues in the Raxaul—Kathmandu railway line.
DoR Senior Divisional Engineer Prakash Upadhyay said, “The population density in the southern plains of the country is relatively higher. This increases the probability of higher private landowners. Therefore, the project could face several land acquisition issues.”
A team of technical officers from India has recently concluded the field study of the proposed railway line. Based on the team’ report, a feasibility study of the project would begin. The Indian team has already identified Chobhar as the terminus of the 113-kms long Kathmandu-Raxaul railway.
The other major cross border railway connecting Kathmandu with Kerung, the border region between Nepal and China, however, will not face much problem, according to the DoR official.
According to an initial report prepared by the China CAMC Engineering Company Limited and China Railway Engineering Consultants Group, 79.5 kms of the 121.48 kms railway would be bridges while 10 kms would be tunnel. The study has identified the need of three intermediate stations in Baireni, Dhunche and Kerung, and five crossing stations in Samundra, Rautebeshi, Urleni, Lantan and Langtang.
While land acquisition seems to be among the major issues for Kathmandu—Raxaul rail, geological situation would be the major challenge in developing Kerung—Kathmandu railway.
The 121.48km railway from the Chinese border to Kathmandu has severe altitude variation. Worse, the gap created between Indian and Tibetan tectonic plates after the 2015 earthquake adds another dimension to the technical impediment.
Upadhayay feels land acquisition model needs changes to end land related issues for projects.
“The government should adopt the concept of land pooling rather than acquiring the land,” he said.
The acquisition model takes a long time as government compensation is negligible compared with the market price.
This encourages speculative pricing and protracted arbitration between the stakeholders.