The second phase of passenger train service from Kurtha to Bijalpura built under Jaynagar-Bardibas Rail Line Project was opened for trains on 1 May.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal's counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda’ on Thursday (1 June) jointly unveiled the e-plaque of the Kurtha-Bijalpura section of the Rail line.
Earlier in April 2022, Jaynagar-Bardibas Rail Line Project's first phase extending from Jaynagar, India to Kurtha, Nepal was virtually inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi from Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
The 35-kilometre-long Jaynagar-Kurtha section consists of eight stations, Jaynagar in India, Inarwa (border station), Khajuri, Mahinathpur, Baidehi, Parwaha, Janakpur and Kurtha.
The second phase connecting Kurtha to Bijalpura covers a total of 17.4 km with five stations enroute, namely, Kurtha, Pipradi, Lohar Patti, Singyahi and Bijalpura.
The rail link between Nepal and India has been popular since the early 20 century.
In 1937, the British had built a narrow-gauge line named Nepal Janakpur Jaynagar Railway (NJJR) to ferry cargo, mainly timbers, from the then heavily forested areas of Janakpur in the Kingdom of Nepal to Jaynagar.
However, over time it became a popular passenger service before it was stopped in 2014 for conversion to broad gauge. By that time, the railway line used to cover 52 kilometre distance from Jaynagar to Bijalpura in Mahottari district in Nepal.
As part of this, New Delhi decided to construct a broad-gauge network between Jaynagar and Bardibas, including trains to operate on the link. Construction work on this project started in 2014 and the project work was expected to be completed by 2020.
As per the plan, the 68.72 km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link, out of which 2.97 km is in India and 65.75 km is in Nepal, is being constructed in three phases.
While the first phase of the project between Jaynagar and Janakpur/Kurtha and the second phase form Kurtha to Bijaldas are now operational, for the remaining portion up to Bardibas, survey work is ongoing in the final segment.
The construction cost of Rs 784 crore for the entire stretch is being borne by India in the form of a grant to Nepal. This project is being undertaken by IRCON, a Public Sector Enterprise under Railways.
The passenger service between Jaynagar which is 4 Km from the Nepal border to Kurtha, has now connected the two countries via rail in addition to road and air links.
It has also fulfilled a long-standing demand of the people on both sides of the border for resumption of cross border passenger train services.
The Jaynagar-Bijalpura rail link, though small, is part of a larger plan of deepening India’s ties with Nepal through the Railways, bypassing the influence of other neighbouring countries in this strategically vital region.
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