Despite Nepal’s idyllic scenery, filled with snowy Himalayan peaks and mountain monasteries, the country is beset by a bad economy, unstable politics and social ills.
In a bid to brighten its fortunes and
future, Nepal is putting plans in place to build an electric rail connecting
the country with its closest neighbours: China, Tibet and India.
While connecting to China through Tibet is
politically sensitive, the Nepalese Department of Railways is specifically
looking to build two sections of electric rail that
will link up with the Indian rail network at Lumbini, the
birthplace of the Lord Buddha and a Unesco World Heritage Site, on the southern
border of Nepal. The front runner for the feasibility study, expected to take
two years, is Chung-Suk Engineering, the South Korean firm that has already
been selected to do a similar study for the possible metro system in Kathmandu.
Both projects are part of Nepal’s proposed
and ambitious Mechi-Mahakali and Pokhara-Kathmandu Electric Railway, estimated to
take 10 years and 800 billion Nepal rupees to complete.