NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepal counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba met here on Saturday and jointly flagged off the inaugural run of the first broad-gauge passenger train between Jaynagar in Bihar and Nepal’s Kurtha.
Deuba is on a three-day visit to India, his first visit to the country after becoming the Prime Minister of Nepal.
Addressing the event, Modi said, “Friends, Nepal Prime Minister Deuba Ji and I have agreed to give priority to business and all types of cross-border connectivity. The beginning of the Jaynagar-Kurtha railway service is a part of this.”
The 35-km long cross-border Jaynagar-Kurtha section is part of the 68.7km Jayanagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas rail link. The link was built under the Modi government’s grant assistance of NPR 8.77 billion.
It is the first section of the rail line between the two countries and was completed in 2021. Jayanagar is 4 km from the India-Nepal border. The Indian government has spent nearly Rs 550 crore for the section up to Bijalpura which is 17 km from Kurtha.
The railway section has eight stations, six halt stations, and 47 road crossings. India has provided two DEMU trains with five-coach each to Nepal. The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has been assigned for the maintenance of the train service.
Taking to Twitter, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the rail link is a landmark in cross-border connectivity.
In the event of the initiation of the rail service, it will be compulsory for Indian citizens travelling by train between India and Nepal to carry any one of the prescribed identity cards in original with a photo identity card during the journey.
Before this, a narrow-gauge service was running between Jaynagar and Janakpur, operated by Nepal, till 2014. The rail service between Jayanagar and Bijalpura in Nepal was introduced in 1937 during British rule. It was, however, suspended in 2001 after floods in Nepal.