Kathmandu, Dec 27 (EFE).- A group of Chinese experts arrived in Nepal Tuesday to carry out a feasibility study for the construction of the world’s highest railway line to connect the two countries.
“To conduct the feasibility study and survey of the China-Nepal cross-border railway has been a long-cherished dream of the Nepali people and an important consensus reached by leaders of our two countries,” the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu said in a press statement.
This project will be a part of “the Belt and Road Initiative,” Beijing’s plan to promote connection and cooperation at an international scale.
The project “gives priority to Nepal’s aspirations and needs in this regard, and will proactively push ahead with the feasibility study with the grant from China,” the statement read.
The Chinese authorities plan to invest 180.47 million yuan (some $26 million) in this study, although for the moment the financing modality of the project has not been specified, a Nepali government official told EFE under anonymity.
The feasibility study is expected to take around 3.5 years due to the due to the geographical challenges in the Himalayan nation, after which a the total investment for this project will be determined, Nepal’s Railways Department spokesperson Aman Chitrakar told EFE.
On a visit to Nepal in 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to conduct this feasibility study of the Chinese-funded multi-billion dollar railway project.
The plan for the Kathmandu-Kerung Trans-Himalayan Railway, with an estimated cost of $2.5 billion dollars, will connect Nepal with the Tibetan Plateau through some of the highest mountain passes in the world.
A pre-feasibility study of the railway conducted in 2016 by China shows the total length of the line will be 599.41 km (372.5 miles), with a 527.16 km section falling in China and 72.25 km in Nepal. The section from Kerung in Tibet, to Kathmandu, will be 170.41 km long.
Nepal believes that the development of the project will improve its connectivity with its northern neighbor, ending its dependence on India. EFE