KATHMANDU: The construction of Nepal’s national flag bearer trains is almost over in the Integral Coach Factory (Sawari Dibba Karkhana) of Chennai, India, but the previous deadline of February set for its first operation is prolonged for one more month, sources at the Department of Railways claim.
“The procurement process for the human resource needed is on,” Balaram Mishra the Director-General of the Department told Khabarhub, adding, “Provided the schedule is not changed again in one month from now, there will be Nepali rail in operation soon.”
The government of Nepal has already purchased the trains for the purpose nearly 9 months back, Mishra said, “The government has bought two trains worth Rs 425 million each.”
Keeping the past promises in mind, the DoRW has not made the operation date public yet. Earlier it had claimed one of the trains would come into operation by the 3rd week of February, after the maturity of the promised time, new promise for next month is set forward again.
“We have received the letter telling the trains are ready,” Mishra said, “However, owing to our own problems we are still not able to bring them.”
He said that there is much to be done ranging from finding the place to keep them prior to operation to the recruitment of the required manpower.
Nepal had planned to run the rail service in 69km which would extend from Jayanagar India to Bardibas, but some problems in the Nepali part have led to the confinement of the service in 34 km long Jayanagar-Kurtha part alone.
According to the Department sources, land acquisition is making the task much complicated.
“Out of the 69 kilometers lying on Jayanagar-Bardibas route, land acquisition of 52 kilometers lying between Inaruwa to Bijalpura has been completed as of now. We are still striving for the acquisition of 17 kilometers more land,” Aman Chitrakar, the Senior Divisional Engineer at the Department said.
The government’s recruiting 226 manpower for train
With the preparation for the operation of rail service, DoRW is set for recruiting required manpower.
Director-General Mishra told Khabarhub that the government has started the preparation for the recruitment of 226 people required for the operation of the railways. “200 Nepali and 26 Indian people are to be recruited soon,” he said.
In the meantime, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Basanta Kumar Nembang has met train driver Bam Bahadur Ghimire, Nawalparasi recently.
The prospective first driver of the Nepali train, Ghimire was called to the Ministry for discussion. “Ghimire is believed to be the first rail driver of Nepal, so we are talking to him,” Mishra said, “However, we are still in dialogue.”
The railway company’s existing workforce is very limited and additional employees including the company chief are being recruited to address the dearth, the Department of Railways, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management.
According to the Department’s Director-General Mishra, the Council of Ministers last month had given permission to hire additional human resources for the railway service operation.
The most required workforce is for the engineering service. Employees for administration and accounting services are also necessary.
However, in the first phase, the Department has planned to recruit in 42 posts including 8 station masters, 1 each chief loco power controller and chief loco inspector.
The capacity of trains
According to Mishra, both trains procured by the government will arrive in Nepal on the same date now. Earlier the Department had told that only one would come first, waiting for the second to join the service a few months later.
The trains of medium speed can speed at a rate of more than 100 km per hour. The trains which will have two driving crew cabins at the front and back can be driven from front or back. There will be a special cabin with AC facility. The train shall have the capacity of more than 1300 people and can accommodate 50-60 special guests in the coach.
Qualification for the main crew
The bill that is made to regulate Nepal’s railway hails that the driver and the co-driver should have passed 10+2, level.
Similarly, the Railway Act, 2019 hails that the person to be recruited as the driver should have the experience of serving as co-driver for at least five years.
As this is Nepal’s first rail service, the government has been striving hard to procured skilled manpower.