Kathmandu, April 10
The government is trying to take a detour from the controversies related to the existing alignment of the proposed 71.93-km-long Outer Ring Road by changing its existing detailed project report (DPR).
Bhai Kaji Tiwari, development commissioner of Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA), said that the government is currently in the process of appointing a new consultant company to conduct the DPR. “We plan to change some parts of the existing alignment where the population density is high.”
As per KVDA’s earlier proposal, it planned to build underpasses so that the existing settlements are not affected. “The current DPR is almost outdated and so we need to conduct a survey again to determine the exact number of households that will be affected by the project,” Tiwari added.
Informing that the market value of privately held land has been increasing very rapidly in the current proposed alignment, he said, “We need to build the project as soon as possible, or it will not be possible to procure the land needed for the project.”
Earlier, Minister for Urban Development Mohamed Istiyak Rai, had said that the price of land along the initial alignment had risen tremendously due to the collusion between the land mafia and government officials, and that the ministry would conduct a fresh study on how private land could be acquired at a cheaper rate for the project.
Rai had said that the government was planning to award the contract to prepare the DPR report and construct the project under the engineering, procurement, contract and financing model to a Chinese government-owned company named China Energy Engineering Corporation without following the Public Procurement Act.
According to Rai, the ministry has forwarded the proposal to the Investment Board Nepal for further process. He said that IBN will soon finalise the project construction and investment modality.
As per the initial study report in 2008, the cost of construction of the project was expected to hover around Rs 70 billion.
However, since the price of land has skyrocketed in the intervening years, the project construction cost is expected to stand at around Rs 226 billion.
The project will be spread across all three districts of the Valley, with 35.08 km falling in Kathmandu, 15.80 km in Lalitpur and 21.05 km in Bhaktapur district. The project aims to interconnect all three old cities of the valley and the newly-declared municipalities through a single road network.
A version of this article appears in print on April 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.