A trilateral expert group of China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan is discussing the optimal route of the railway, the transit section of which should pass through the Tien Shan. According to the head of the Ministry of Transport of the Kyrgyz Republic, Zhanat Beishenov, consultations are also being held at the ministerial level.
According to the President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the political decision on the project was made by all interested parties. The point is to agree on technical details.
We are talking, in particular, about the gauge (China uses the so-called "narrow gauge"), the route and location of the transport and logistics hub in the Tien Shan.
In the republic, the construction of the transit section is called strategically important, which is also emphasized by the head of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov. It is expected that the opening of the railway service will reduce the cost of goods coming from China, increase the flow of goods and revenues to the local budget. In addition, it is assumed that a branch from the PRC will allow the mountainous republic to solve more important problems.
“We need this railway like air,” the president of the republic said. - We have no access to the sea, and in the conditions of the pandemic we remained "locked up". Borders were closed, and there was a threat not only to economic, but also to food security.
Despite the "strategic importance", the project itself has been discussed by the parties with varying degrees of intensity for more than twenty years. Its implementation was hampered by several factors, among which the complex mountainous landscape of Kyrgyzstan was not the most important. The discussion of the transit section has intensified, then faded again against the background of different views on what this road should be like, who will finance its construction and what purposes it will serve.
Some time ago, Kyrgyzstan hoped that the construction of the transit section would be carried out in parallel with the construction of the railway, which would connect the southern regions of the republic with the northern ones. The leadership of the Kyrgyz Republic proposed to the Chinese partners to implement this project, claiming that by doing so the carriers would gain access to the branch that runs through Kazakhstan and leads to Russia. In other words, not one, but two transit corridors would appear on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. However, the republic could not interest investors in this project - due to its expensive cost and the negative attitude of the local population to such infrastructure facilities.
Several weeks ago, the state-owned company NK Kyrgyztemirzholu (Kyrgyz Railroad) reported that the development of a feasibility study for the Kyrgyz section of the road had been completed. The most optimal route for Kyrgyzstan has been submitted for discussion within the framework of a multilateral expert group; negotiations are also underway with the Russian side expressing interest in the project.
The estimated cost of the project is estimated at over $ 4 billion. The Kyrgyz side hopes to find these funds abroad.