Two and a half years on, yet KMC monorail operation nowhere in sight

Sabina Karki

November 15, 2019

5 MIN READ

Two and a half years on, yet KMC monorail operation nowhere in sight

Photo: Pixabay (Representational Image)

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KATHMANDU: Hit by the hectic traffic jam, Kathmanduities knew no bound of happiness when they first heard about the government’s assurance to operate a monorail in the Kathmandu Valley. The project of monorail and metrorail was the talk of the town at one time in the past as it could relieve commuters from the dust, smoke and hectic traffic jam in the Kathmandu Valley.

The project received mixed reactions – some appreciated the monorail’s idea in the capital while the others were cynical about it. It garnered support as it would resolve the issue of traffic jams aside from giving a facelift to Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu.

Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Bidhya Sundar Shakya had won the elections by sweet-taking the KMC denizens of monorail operation.

On December 19, 2018, Kathmandu Metropolis and Lalitpur metropolis had signed a deal with Chinese company China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on the monorail operation in the Valley and promised to submit a Detailed Project Report (DPR) within a year.

The DPR includes soil testing, environmental impact evaluation, design of monorail, cost estimation, traffic management system, stages of project operation and benefit analysis.

However, the signs of monorail operation in the capital are nowhere in sight even after two and a half years of Shakya’s tenure have gone by. The DPR is still incomplete, let the monorail construction alone.

The metropolis has informed Khabarhub that the submission of the DPR submission deadline is getting delayed even though the preliminary feasibility study report had been submitted before the set deadline.

Around Rs 80 billion budget is required to carry out the much-talked monorail project along the 27.5-kilometer Ring Road.

The preliminary study has shown that monorail can be operated along the Kalanki-Koteshwar-Chahabil-Maharajgunj-Kalanki route, said Ishwar Dangol, spokesperson of the KMC.

“I have heard that a feasibility study has reached a final stage, said Dangol, adding, “The proposed monorail will provide service to around 150 commuters in the Valley.”

The DPR includes soil testing, environmental impact evaluation, design of monorail, cost estimation, traffic management system, stages of project operation and benefit analysis.

Selection of consultants for monorail DPR

The Department of Railways (DoR) has said that the selection process of consultants for operating monorail in the Kathmandu Valley has reached a final stage.

The DPR to be prepared in line with a public-private partnership model or (Build, own, operate and transfer) boot model will be prepared within a year. The project will be completed within five years after the date the DPR is completed, the Department said.

Similarly, the process of consultants selection for making a feasibility study on operating a metrorail along the Budhanilkanta-Maharajgunj-Khokna route has also reached a final stage, the Department said.

The evaluation of proposals from various companies on preparing DPR of a 23-km long metrorail is underway, said Balaram Mishra, director of the DoR.

Similarly, the DRP of Nagdhunga-Dhulikhel is gaining momentum through the Investment Board Nepal.

This railway will operate for 20 hours. It is estimated that over 100,000 commuters will benefit from this metrorail service once this project comes into operation.

“If everything goes as planned, we will select a company to prepare the DPR,” said Mishra, adding, “We have received proposals from 20 companies so far.”

The DPR to be prepared in line with a public-private partnership model or (Build, own, operate and transfer) boot model will be prepared within a year. The project will be completed within five years after the date the DPR is completed, the Department said.

Metrorail prioritized over monorail in capital

There has been a dispute between federal and local governments over which one is to be prioritized – monorail or metrorail in the Kathmandu Valley.

Experts have prioritized metrorail over monorail in the context of capital.

Infrastructure expert Kiran Thapa says, “Monorail is going to be phased out from the world since it is medium-sized and the technology is old-fashioned. Metrorail could be suitable in the Kathmandu Valley considering time and current technology.

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