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Stronger Indo-Nepal connectivity forged

Indian Railway is planning to bring in four railway lines into Nepal, India’s Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee says.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2007 19:42 IST
Anirban Roy

With the aim to forge better connectivity between India and Nepal, New Delhi has drafted several dream plans in the Himalayan nation. Indian Railway is planning to bring in four railway lines into Nepal, India’s Ambassador to Nepal, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee said.

"The railway projects would bring Nepal much more closer to India," he said. As a stepping stone, the Indian Railways on Friday started computerised ticket booking centres in Kathmandu and Birgunj. More centres will soon start functioning at Pokhara, Biratnagar, Bhairawa and Nepalgunj.

The railway booking centres are being set up with a private partner in Nepal. So far, people in Nepal have been depending on agents to buy railway tickets to visit India. On an average, more than 35,000 people from Nepal visit different parts of India every month.

Mukherjee claimed India is planning to set up world-class infrastructure at Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairawa and Nepalgunj to enable the Nepalese citizens to undertake hassle-free journey to different parts of India.

"As better connectivity is the main agenda of the SAARC countries now, India is all set to establish improved connectivity with Nepal," the ambassador, said, adding that New Delhi would try its best to improve and widen the ticketing services across Nepal.

Mukherjee claimed the air connectivity between India and Nepal would also improve during the next couple of months. At present, Kathmandu has direct air link with Kolkata, Varanasi and New Delhi, and all the sectors are jam-packed.

"Our (India’s) new open sky policy would improve the air connectivity with Nepal," the Indian ambassador, said. Some of the airlines companies are now planning to have direct flights from Kathmandu to Patna, Guwahati, Bagdogra and Bangalore.

In fact, Nepal’s aviation infrastructure is one of best in South Asia, and because of the hostile terrain and deteriorating law and order problems, people now prefer to travel by air within the country.

Interestingly, the tiny Himalayan nation has as many as 54 operational airports, and 17-seater twin-otter aircrafts even fly into some of the hilly and inaccessible districts.