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First India-Nepal passenger train on broad gauge likely to begin in a few days

The first passenger train to run on broad gauge between India and Nepal is scheduled to start the service in a few days according to Nepal media reports. The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of South-Eastern Nepal, a distance of 34 km.

An immigration check-post is likely to be established at Jayanagar station manned by either the Bureau of Immigration or the state government. No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch, according to reports.

The Nepalese authorities have informed the railways that the section will be opened with four trips and will run in eight to 16 hour shifts. The Nepalese authorities have informed the railways that the section will be opened with four trips and will run in eight to 16 hour shifts.

While the first train is to be a passenger train, the Nepalese have stated that they want to run both passenger and freight trains on this section. Nepal will take rolling stock rakes, coaches and others on lease from India for the purpose.

The ministry of Indian External affairs have had several inter-ministerial meetings with the railways, government of Nepal and other stakeholders on this. More meetings to finalize logistics are likely to take place.

The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China's plans to forge rail links with Nepal from Tibet. After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's recent visit to India.

Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu. The Rs 5.5-billion (Nepalese Rs 8.8 billion) project is divided into three phases. The first includes construction of a 34-km segment between Jayanagar and Kurtha, the second comprises construction of an 18-km segment from Kurtha to Bhangaha in Mahottari district, and the third comprises construction of a 17-km segment from Bhangaha to Bardibas. Of the total length, only three kilometers is in Indian territory.
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