Nepal | April 04, 2020

Construction of 7,000 road projects across country stalled

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 15

Due to dispute and lack of coordination between the central, provincial and local governments, construction works of more than 7,000 multi-year contracted road projects have been stalled since the last three months.

According to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), construction of over 7,000 national, provincial and local level roads worth Rs 27 billion has been delayed due to lack of coordination.

“Construction activities of all the disputed roads have been completely halted at the moment due to the issue of ownership raised by the provincial and local governments,” said Shivahari Sapkota, spokesperson for MoPIT.

On December 18 last year, the government had decided to hand over the concerned roads that were being constructed by the Department of Roads to the provincial and local governments. As per the Cabinet’s decision, the MoPIT had handed over the entire responsibility of the road projects to the provincial and local governments.

According to the government’s decision, MoPIT had transferred all activities related to the road projects — status of implementation, investment, physical and financial progress, details of expenditure of last fiscal year, projection of the expenditure up to end of the current fiscal year, among others — to the provincial and local governments.

However, the provincial and local governments have yet to take ownership of the projects. They have stated that they will not take ownership of projects whose construction works have already been started by the Department of Roads.

Meanwhile, Sapkota has accepted the fact that the provincial and local governments still lack the capacity to handle such types of large-scale projects.

“The central government has decided to hand over the responsibility of the projects to the lower tiers of the government but it has failed to extend the expertise required for such projects,” he said. “At present, the provincial and local governments cannot handle such projects, hence such projects need to be transferred gradually as they build their

Meanwhile, the government had also mentioned on December 18 last year that it would transfer all the offices under the jurisdiction of Department of Roads to the provincial governments but nothing has materialised yet.

A version of this article appears in print on February 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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