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Sky rail in Kathmandu!

Kathmandu, February 9, 2017: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cimex Inc Pvt Ltd for conducting a feasibility study of a sky rail system in Kathmandu. The MoU signed on Wednesday is first of its kind to explore possibility of sky rail system in Nepal.

As per the agreement, Cimex will carry out a technical and financial feasibility study of sky rail in Kathmandu in two phases. In the first phase, Cimex will carry out a study on the possibility of sky rail operation on a major route in Kathmandu within three months. The second phase of the study will be conducted on all major routes of in the Capital within 12 months of signing the MOU.

“If the feasibility study concludes that operation of a sky rail in the Valley is possible, then we will start its construction within a year,” said Prasiddha Jung Pandey, chairman of Cimex Inc, adding that the company will bear the cost of the study.

According to the KMC, the feasibility study will be conducted under the public-private partnership model to explore the possibility of mass transportation system aimed at addressing the chronic problems of traffic congestion and ever degrading environmental condition of Kathmandu.

KMC Chief Executive Rudra Singh Tamang said that the sky rail would be a better option for a congested city like Kathmandu than the metro rail. “We can’t imagine the scenario where we have to dig again to build tracks for the metro rail in Kathmandu. That’s why the concept of sky rail on elevated tracks make a lot of sense,” explained Tamang. With around 5 million population, Kathmandu Valley is in desperate need of a public transportation system that is reliable, safe and environmental friendly.

Ananta Acharya, director general of the Department of Railway welcomed the move. “It’s good that we are conducting a feasibility study,” he said.

Cimex Inc, according to Pandey, has already hired a team of experts from China for the study. It is also looking for the prototype of sky rail being used in countries like China, India, Malaysia and Japan. “A sky rail system costs 80 percent less than a metro rail,” said Pandey, adding that its construction time is relatively shorter than that of the metro rail.

The erstwhile KP Oli-led government had also discussed the idea of developing a sky rail in Kathmandu. In January last year, a board meeting of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) had discussed on authorising the board to explore the possibility of such rail system in the Valley.

By Anup Ojha