Nepal-India revises Railway Service Agreement; Rail cargo movement gets a big boost

KATHMANDU: India and Nepal today inked a Letter of Exchange (LoE) to revise the 2004 India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA).

A virtual ceremony was held to exchange notes verbales and signed copies of the LoE, between the two governments, as per the release from Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

From the Indian side, the ceremony was led by Sanjay Kumar Mohanty, Member (Operations and Business Development), Ministry of Railways. From the Nepalese side, it was led by Dinesh Bhattarai, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Supplies.

The ceremony was conducted in presence of Ambassador of India to Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, the Ambassador of Nepal to India, Nilamber Acharya, Joint Secretary (North), Ministry of External Affairs of India, Anurag Srivastava and Joint Secretary (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, Tirtha Raj Wagle.

With the entering into force of the LoE, all authorised cargo train operators which includes public and private container trains operators, automobile freight train operators, special freight train operators or any other operator authorised by Indian Railways will be able to utilize the Indian railway network to carry Nepal’s container and other freight – both bilateral between India and Nepal or third country from Indian ports to Nepal.

“This liberalisation will allow market forces to come up in the rail freight segment in Nepal, and is likely to increase efficiency and cost-competitiveness, eventually benefiting Nepalese traders, transporters and the consumer,” the release said.

The release further stated, “The LoE also updates several other portions of the India-Nepal RSA and brings those in line with latest operational and infrastructure status of Indian and Nepalese Railways. It therefore marks another milestone in India’s efforts to enhance regional connectivity under the “Neighbourhood First” policy.”

Further, after this LoE, all kinds of cargoes in all categories of wagons that can carry freight on Indian Railways network within India can also carry freight to and from Nepal.

New provisions in the agreement will particularly reduce transportation costs for automobiles and certain other products whose carriage takes place in special wagons. Wagons owned by Nepal Railway Company will also be authorised to carry Nepal-bound freight (inbound and outbound on Kolkata/Haldia to Biratnagar/Birgunj routes) over the Indian Railways network as per IR standards and procedures

Fiscal Nepal |
Friday July 9, 2021, 08:44:01 PM |

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