China has suggested that the proposed Nepal-China railway be constructed through an underground tunnel through Everest National Park.
According to the South China Morning Post, the report submitted by the top engineer in charge of project development of the Nepal-China railway after his study states that there is no alternative but to pass some part of the railway through protected areas.
A senior engineer involved in the project concluded that it was difficult to take the train from other parts of the country and gave the option of taking the national park railway through the tunnel. If the proposed railway line is approved, it will become a habitat for environmental and various protected wildlife.
It is mentioned that Chinese law does not allow the construction of large projects in the environment protected area.The railway will play a key role in boosting Nepal’s economy.
Six routes have been proposed for the 1,000-kilometer railway line to be extended across the border between the two countries. Work will be done by selecting one of the six proposed routes. Chinese technicians are confused about which route to choose. It is said that the debate has focused on the issue of taking the railway through the Everest National Park among the proposed routes.
According to the study report published on Wednesday in the railway standard design, 30 km area of the railway will pass through the national park. According to Liang Dong, a top engineer involved in the study, one-third of the railway tunnel falls entirely into the main protected area of the national park, but the tunnel will be completely ‘underground’.
Liang Dong, a senior engineer with the Chinese Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group in Sanchi Province, told the newspaper that more than a third of the tunnels have been agreed to be built underground in Everest National Park.
The tunnel in the Himalayan region will be entirely in Chinese territory and will be the first railway line to pass through the Himalayan region.It will connect the Rikaje region of Tibet.The railway will connect the Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, to the Tibetan city of Rikaje via the border town of Garung. The 513-kilometer railway will cost 8.27 billion, according to Engineer Liang.
He said that although the railways are routes that can be built completely outside the national park area, its cost and length could reach double or triple, so it was appropriate to develop some sections within the national park.
The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu has not commented on the proposal to build a railway through the Everest base camp.
China and Nepal signed an agreement in 2016 to build a railway connecting the two countries. This railway is under the Belt and Road Initiative of China.
The project study report submitted by the Chinese side does not mention the National Park of Nepal. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation has stated that there is no study on the railway line coming through Everest National Park.