PURNIA: The friendly ties between Bihar and Nepal are set to get further boost as train services between Bathnaha in Araria district and Biratnagar (Nepal) are likely to begin in 2014.
The work on the 18-km rail route between Bathnaha and Biratnagar, which is being expeditiously carried out, will hopefully be completed and trains would chug out of Biratnagar by 2014.
Katihar DRM Bhushan Patil, who personally made an inspection of the work on rail route on Monday, told TOI that the new rail route construction would cost Rs 248 crore. While 5km stretch of the route from Bathnaha to border point will be inside Bihar, 13km stretch would fall within Nepal.
The railways also proposed to upgrade the Bathnaha railway station into a model station which will provide better amenities to commuters from across the border as well, the DRM said.
The foundation of the proposed new rail line between Bathnaha and Biratnagar was formally laid by the then railway minister Lalu Prasad at Jogbani on June 4, 2007 when he had come to flag off Seemanchal Express between Jogbani and New Delhi and Kolkata-Jogbani triweekly.
The DRM also indicated that pairs of passenger trains between Jogbani and Patna and Jogbani and Manihari would soon be introduced. He, however, could not commit on the possible date as it all depended upon several factors.
Bihar Congress spokesman V K Thakur welcomed the railway's firm initiatives in opening rail traffic to Nepal by 2014. He, however, said that railways, which appeared to have put many new rail line projects like Jalalgarh (Purnia)-Kishanganj and Galgalia-Araria via Bahadurganj on the back burner, should show equal anxiety and concern in taking up these projects which would immensely help in economic resurgence of this neglected part of Bihar.
"The North-East Frontier Railways should also accord priority to the electrification of rail route between Barauni and Guwahati via Katihar," Thakur said.