This liberalization 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
India and Nepal are integrating their railways to push New Delhi's 'Neighbourhood First' policy and enhance regional connectivity by allowing all kinds of cargoes in all categories of wagons, that can carry freight on Indian Railways network within India, to carry freight to and from Nepal.
In a virtual ceremony held on Friday, India and Nepal have signed a Letter of Exchange (LoE) to the India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA) 2004, following which all authorized cargo train operators — including public and private container trains operators, automobile freight train operators, special freight train operators or any other operator authorized by Indian Railways — can 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 liberalization 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.
Further, it 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 authorized to carry Nepal-bound freight (inbound and outbound on Kolkata/Haldia to Biratnagar/Birgunj routes) over the Indian Railways network as per Indian Railways' standards and procedures.
Sanjay Kumar Mohanty, Member (Operations and Business Development), Ministry of Railways, from India and Dinesh Bhattarai, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Supplies from Nepal, exchanged the Notes Verbales and signed copies of the LoE between the two governments.
Vinay Mohan Kwatra (India's Ambassador to Nepal), Nilamber Acharya (the Ambassador of Nepal to India), Anurag Srivastava (Joint Secretary, North, Ministry of External Affairs of India), Tirtha Raj Wagle (Joint Secretary, South Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal) were the representatives present from the two Embassies and concerned Ministries of both the governments during the signing ceremony.
The LoE also updates several other portions of the India-Nepal RSA and brings those in line with the latest operational and infrastructure status of Indian and Nepalese Railways.