Japanese firms receive order to build tunnel in Nepal as crucial link to India

25, Sep. 2019

NEW DELHI, NNA - Japanese firms have received a work order to build Nepal’s first tunnel with official aid from Tokyo that would improve road access between the landlocked country and neighboring India.

Consulting and engineering firm Nippon Koei Co. will oversee construction, and Hazama Ando Corp. will be the project contractor, the government-backed Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said. JICA is handling funds for the project.

Those companies will build the tunnel under Nagdhunga Pass, located on a trunk road connecting Kathmandu, other major cities in Nepal and the Indian border. Tunnel construction will cost 22.14 billion yen ($206 million), JICA said in a statement.

JICA will channel 16.64 billion yen in official development assistance per a commitment made in 2016.

The tunnel, about 2.7 kilometers long, will be accompanied by tollgates, two bridges, access roads totaling about 2.6 km and electric power lines covering about 4.1 km.

The tunnel would reduce time required for reaching India via mountain pass as well as the number of traffic accidents there. Mid-Hill Highway, which stretches from east to west through Nepal and into Kathmandu, now serves the Nagdhunga area and connects to a road that extends onward to trading posts in India. Nagdhunga’s rugged pass is a traffic bottleneck today.

A tunnel groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for November. The tunnel is set to open for use in April 2023 and be completed a year later.