Kathmandu, January 23
The government has authorised Nepal Railway Company (NRC) to hire necessary foreign workers to operate of the long-awaited Janakpur-Kurtha-Jainagar railway service.
The Cabinet meeting held on January 20 has allowed the NRC, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to hire foreign skilled workers to operate the railway service.
However, the government has limited the number of foreign workers that the company can employ to 26 only. Meanwhile, the Department of Railways (DoRW), on July 28 last year, had asked the government to provide 200 technical and not-technical staffers to operate the railway service.
Earlier, the government had planned to operate the railway service from October last year but Nepal Railway Company was unable to avail the rail wagons on time to start operations.
Balaram Mishra, director general of DoRW, said the department plans to operate the railway service from March if everything goes according to plan. “We had placed an order for two wagons from a company in Chennai in India,” he said. “At present one wagon is already on its way to Nepal and the other is being assembled.”
Mishra informed that the first wagon will be delivered in February and service will begin from March.
Previously, the Janakpur-Jayanagar railway was in operation till 2014 but has been non-functional since then.
Meanwhile, the DoRW has already amended the bylaws so as to make them contextual for the smooth operation of the railway service.
“After the government’s goahead, we will publish the vacancy notice for the necessary technical staffers, including nationals and foreigners,” informed Mishra. “As per our verbal understanding with the Indian authorities, we will hire technical staffers from the southern neighbour, which will help us to operate our service easily as the engine and wagons are manufactured in India.”
As per the earlier agreement with the Indian government, Nepali and Indian nationals will not be required to acquire visa to enter each other’s country via rail service. The Nepal government is planning to operate both passenger and freight trains in the Janakpur-Jainagar section.
A version of this article appears in print on January 24, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.