Kathmandu: An Indian delegation has held discussions and conducted on-the-spot assessments in Nepal as part of an Indo-Nepal project to develop a rail link at border points between the two countries.

The high-level delegation led by Akhilesh Mishra, Joint Secretary (North), in the Ministry of External Affairs was in Nepal this week for the second meeting of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) for the development of railway infrastructure at five border points along the India-Nepal border.

General Manager of IRCON International Ltd, India, the consultant for the project, was also part of the delegation.

The delegation led by Mishra held extensive discussions with the Nepalese team led by Ramesh Raj Bista, Joint Secretary Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Director General of Department of Railways, and other senior officers of the Government of Nepal, according to the Indian Embassy here.

As part of the meetings, a combined study team comprising both the delegations visited Janakpur for a field visit to conduct an on-the-spot assessment of the earmarked area on the Nepalese side for the construction of Jayanagar-Bardibas rail link, which runs through Janakpur in southern Nepal.

The team took note of the ongoing preparatory work in thisregard and suggested ways to accelerate the pace of progress on the rail link.

The team also reviewed the progress made towards the expeditious execution of the two railway links – Jogbani (India)- Biratnagar(Nepal) link (17.65 km) and Jayanagar (India) - Bardibas (Nepal) link (68 km), which are to be covered under Phase I of the project.

The meeting also laid down a set of practical steps for early implementation of the project.

Both sides reiterated their common objective for the early implementation of the project, which would lead to easier and faster connectivity between the two countries and would further strengthen the economic development of Nepal, the statement by the Indian embassy said.

The cross-border railway links will be constructed at five locations on the Indo-Nepal border -- Jaynagar in India to Bardibas in Nepal; Jogbani to Biratnagar; Nautanwa to Bhairahawa; Rupaidiha to Nepalgunj; and New Jalpaiguri to Kakarbhitta.

Work on the Jaynagar-Bardibas link that involves conversion of 51 km of railway line (from Jaynagar to Bijalpura) into broad-gauge and its 17 km extension up to Bardibas is expected to start soon.

Both the governments have also decided to undertake work on the 17.65 km Jogbani–Biratnagar rail link in the first phase itself.

Estimated cost of the two proposed rail links under the first phase is more than 1100 crores Nepali rupees.

(Agencies)