Construction of Narayangarh-Butwal road stalled

Kathmandu, December 9

Though the government has been harping on planning to ease the growing traffic congestion along the major highways across the country, it still has not been able to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) of the 110-km-long Narayangarh-Butwal section of the East-West Highway, which is considered to be one of the busiest road sections of the country.

The Department of Roads (DoR) had earlier drafted the DPR of the project in August last year, but locals and other concerned stakeholders had objected to it citing that it was incomplete. After that the DoR had started to draft a new DPR for the project.

As per the agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB), the government will be able to avail $180 million soft loan for Narayangarh-Butwal section and $20 million for improvement of 41-km-long Bhairahawa-Lumbini section. The project is being funded by the ADB.

Tilak Mahat, a parliamentarian representing Nawalparasi-2, said that the government needs to change the earlier incomplete DPR of the project. “There is no problem of funds but the project has been stalled for over one year as the DPR has still not been drafted.”

Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Basanta Kumar Nembang, said the government is committed to take forward the project after the DPR is completed.

“The 1,028-km-long East-West Highway is the lifeline of the country, so the pace of construction activities along this highway needs to be accelerated and the government is committed to completing the project within the stipulated timeframe,” he added.

The minister informed that the Narayangarh-Butwal road expansion project was in the government’s priority list. “There are some issues related to felling trees and we will resolve it as soon as possible by coordinating with the related ministry.”

Nembang further claimed that works related to the expansion of the East-West Highway would be completed during the tenure of the present government.

As per DoR’s plan, the Narayangarh-Butwal road section will be developed into a four-lane fast track project. The ‘Policies and Programmes’ for current fiscal 2019-20, which was presented earlier this year, has also mentioned that the East-West Highway would be widened into four lanes.