KATHMANDU, July 14
The government has unveiled budget for next fiscal year with a target to carry out development of physical infrastructure as a national campaign. And, if things go as per its plan, all village development committees (VDCs) will have road access and electricity service within three years.
Under the physical infrastructure, the budget for next fiscal year 2015-16 unveiled today has numerous projects related to roads, bridges, railways, airports and hydropower. The sector has been receiving bigger chunk of budget every year as development of the sector is prerequisite for pushing up economic growth of the country.
According to the budget, the government during the next fiscal will open 1,942 km track for new roads, black top 795 km roads and construct 170 bridges. For these activities, the government has allocated a total of Rs 54 billion. Similarly, a total of 840 bridges will be constructed within five years targeting to make 53,000 km district level roads accessible around the year.
Similarly, preparation will begin to construct flyover on busy intersections of Kathmandu, and high priority will be given to Ring Road improvement plan and maintenance of other city roads.
To ease the vehicle movement to and from Kathmandu, the budget has announced of starting construction of Thankot-Naubise tunnel road from next fiscal. This plan has been allocated Rs 1.67 billion and Rs 2.13 billion has been set aside for widening and improvement of Narayanghat-Mugling road.
“Work on widening East-West Highway to four lanes is planned for execution from next fiscal,” said Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, while presenting the budget. Earlier, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had said that the government would first widen 200 km-plus Narayanghat-Dhalkebar section of the East-West Highway.
As per the budget, under construction Kanti Rajpath, an alternative link road to Kathmandu, will be readied within six months for movement of cargo carriers for trade. There is also a plan that has talked of six-lane trade road development in Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi. Similarly, Kathmandu-Mugling-Rasuwagadi road will be developed as second big trade route, while, widening of existing Suryabinayak-Dhulikhel section of Araniko Highway to six lanes has been allocated Rs 1.7 billion.
In national pride road projects, Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track road, an expressway that connects Kathmandu with Tarai has been planned to begin construction from next fiscal year and this project has been allocated a total of Rs one billion. With a target to complete the construction of ongoing Postal Highway project within five years, the government this year has allocated Rs 3.19 billion. Similarly, Mid-Hill Highway has been allocated Rs 1.95 billion with assurance to increase the resource based on project performance.
Construction of Koshi and Karnali Corridors, and Seti and Mahakali roads has been planned for expediting their construction. From the next fiscal, a total of 47 roads in Tarai will be built under multiyear contract to speed up construction, as per the budget. A feasibility study for Jhhor-Chhahare tunnel road will also be conducted.
Amid trend of bridge work not completing on time, the budget has come up with a new provision.
“Until the work on bridges that are already under construction concludes, construction of bridges will not begin on roads other than in Strategic Road Network,” states the budget. Similarly, projects that fail to give progress of above 50 per cent by the end of second trimester of the fiscal year will also be asked to surrender budget allocated for the year and such resource will be given to other needy projects.
In railway sector, the government has planned to construct track in Bardibas-Simara section of the East-West Electrical Railway and acquire land.
For this purpose, Rs 1.86 billion has been allocated. As per the budget, the government will also conduct study for mono or metro rail development in the Capital.
In airport infrastructure, airports of Rajbiraj, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi will be upgraded, while Tribhuvan International Airport upgrading plan has been provided Rs 1.75 billion. Similarly, Gautam Buddha Airport that is being upgraded as regional international airport in Bhairahawa, has been allocated Rs 2.5 billion with a target to complete its construction within two years.
On the energy front, in the next fiscal, the government has decided to carry out study of Karnali-Chisapani, Naumure, Sunkoshi, Upper Arun, Andhikhola and Uttar Ganga projects. Similarly, there is plan to sign agreement for the projects like 800 MW Tamakoshi III and 400 MW Marshyangdi Hydropower Project. As per the budget announcement, to utilise remittance in productive sector, project development under concept of ‘Remit Hydro’ will be initiated. For the next fiscal year, Rs 12.73 billion has been allocated for development of transmission lines.
The government has also decided to involve private sector in the National Transmission Grid Company and construct transmission lines under build and transfer modality. As per budget plan, an electricity trading company will be established for national and international trade of power. For the production, transmission and distribution of electricity, the government has allocated Rs 45.72 billion for energy sector and Rs 5.49 billion for alternative energy.
A version of this article appears in print on July 15, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.