A senior official of the Department of Railways stated that Nepal won’t allow people from third countries to enter India by railroads via the Kurtha-Jayanagar railroad after the Indian officials had expressed security concerns.
“This was agreed while finalizing the Standard Operating Procedure (SPA) for cross-border railway operation,” said Deepak Kumar Bhattarai, director general at the department, the Kathmandu Post reported. The SPA is a document outlining the procedures which are to be adopted while operating the railway service. Both Nepal and India signed the SPA in New Delhi last month. India’s security concern was one of the reasons why it took so long to finalize the SPA.
As Nepal and India share a porous border, India has always been suspicious of criminals and terrorists using the porous border to cause harm to India. Both sides have suffered from cross-border crimes over the last several years, according to Bhattarai.
Nepal will also notify India about the passengers on board to ensure security clearance at the border point. “Based on the ticket issued, we will have to send details of the passengers traveling to India,” he added.
The Jayanagar-Kurtha section is part of the 68.7km Jayanagar-Bijalpura-Bardidas rail link that was built under the Government of India’s grant assistance of NPR 8.77 billion. This infrastructure was built for broad gauge railway operation by replacing the narrow gauge, which was stopped more than seven years ago.
Although, there’s still no clarity when the railway service will restart as the Nepal government is yet to introduce an ordinance regarding railway services and the Nepal Railway Company is suffering from an acute shortage of manpower.
The present Sher Bahadur Deuba regime four months ago had tabled an ordinance on railway service in Parliament. But it had failed to get the parliamentary nod.
Source: Business Standard, The Hindu