China to construct new rail line in Tibet close to Arunachal

China to construct new rail line in Tibet close to Arunachal

China today approved construction of a new strategically important high altitude railway line in Tibet costing about USD six billion that would come close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh.

China has approved the feasibility report for the construction of the railway linking Tibet's capital Lhasa to Nyingchi, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

This high altitude railway will be the second rail link to be built in Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway connecting Xining in neighbouring Qinghai province with Lhasa which became operational in 2006.

The plan to construct railway line linking Lhasa to Nyingchi in the east was announced in August. Nyingchi is located right on top of Arunachal, the nearest area to the borders.

According to the plan approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Lhasa to Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet railway runs 402-km long. The 32-km section from Xierong to Lhasa will be electrified.

The project will cost about USD six billion and will take seven years to complete.The designed speed for passenger trains will be 160 km per hour. The line will have a cargo capacity of 10 million tonnes per year.

In August this year, China inaugurated its extension of railway line in Tibet which come close to the Indian border in Sikkim besides borders of Nepal and Bhutan.The 253-km railway line costing about USD 2.16 billion linked Lhasa with Xigaze, the second-largest city in the Himalayan region.

The railway expansion in Tibet will connect Nepal, Bhutan and India by 2020, earlier reports said.

Today's official announcement about the construction of the new rail line came in the backdrop of India's plans to improve the road network along the border regions of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as Southern Tibet.

Reacting to India's plans to build 54 more border posts, the Chinese military spokesman Yang Yujun said yesterday that India should shun moves that "may further complicate the situation" and do more to maintain peace in that area.
China and India have disputes over the eastern part of their border.

Tourist arrivals in Tibet reached 12.9 million last year from 1.8 million in 2005.
The region's gross domestic product reached 80 billion yuan in 2013, compared with 34 billion yuan in 2006.

Lines connecting Xigaze with Yadong, Jilung and Nyalam border ports are being planned, the Xinhua report said. The new Tibet line was one of three rail lines approved today by NDRC.

The other two are from Ordos in the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Ji'an in the eastern Jiangxi Province, and from Datong in the northern Shanxi Province to Zhangjiakou in neighbouring Hebei Province. The total investment of the three is 250 billion yuan (USD 40 billion).
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