After Nepal, India plans rail link to Bhutan

After resuming train operations to Nepal, the government now is expediting the plan to provide rail connectivity to Bhutan, which at present doesn’t have a railway network. The railway ministry has asked the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to carry out preliminary engineering and traffic survey of the Kokrajhar-Gelephu line, reports Dipak Dash.

Sources said the survey will be taken up on priority and the 57.5-km project may require an investment of around Rs 1,000 crore. While the stretch falling in the India portion is mostly plain terrain, the stretch in Bhutan passes through hilly areas.

TOI has learnt that the railway corridors in Bhutan would be broad gauge, as it is in India. India has extended its rail link with Bangladesh and Nepal in recent years to strengthen bilateral ties and people-to-people contact.

In January 2005, Bhutan and India had signed an MoU to connect Bhutan with the Indian railways network. Five corridors, including Kokrajhar-Gelephu, were identified.