Infrastructure projects get priority

Kathmandu, May 29

The government has allocated a budget of Rs 163.52 billion for development of roads, rail and water transportation system through the federal budget for next fiscal year 2019-20.

In this sense, the fiscal budget seems geared towards Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s ambitious plan of regional connectivity through inland waterways, water vessels, and cross-border railway links with India and China.

Roads, rails and bridges

While delivering the budget for next fiscal year in the Federal Parliament today, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada informed that while the funds allocated for road sector have been increased massively, the government was also aiming for high economic growth through development of the agricultural sector.

While reading the budget, Minister Khatiwada also said that the government aims to focus on roadway links with both neighbouring giants for balancing of regional connectivity, to increase business activity, investment promotion and tourism development within Nepal.

To expand and upgrade the East-West highway into dedicated four lanes, the government has allocated Rs 19.18 billion for the upgradation of Butwal-Narayangadh and Kamala-Kanchanpur sectors. As per the announcement, the budget has been allocated to conduct a detailed study report and start upgradation works by next fiscal. Moreover, Rs 5.4 billion has been set aside to connect the East-West highway with various industrial corridors through link roads.

The government also has allocated budget of Rs 15.1 billion for the Kathmandu-Nijgadh Expressway, Rs 13.63 billion for blacktopping of 350 kilometres of Postal highway and Rs 12.20 billion for blacktopping of 435 kilometres of Pushpalal Mid-hill highway. Likewise, the government has set a target to construct link roads connecting all the districts along the southern border to the Pushpalal Mid-hill highway. This, however, is continuation of the ongoing works from this fiscal year.

The budget has announced that construction of shortest route of north-south link road of Rashuwagadhi-Galchi-Thori highway would be undertaken. A tunnel will be dug in Betrawati-Syafrubesi section of the highway.

The government has allocated Rs 1.58 billion for upgradation of Galchi-Trishuli-Betrawati- Mailung road into double lanes and for blacktopping of Mailung-Syafrubesi road. Also, Rs 960 million has been allocated for upgradation and expansion of BP highway.

A budget of Rs 5.6 billion has been allocated for construction of Mechi, Koshi, Kaligandaki and Karnali corridors.

Additionally, the government has also allocated Rs 4.82 billion for the Madan Bhandari highway that will link Shantinagar of Jhapa district to Rupal of Dadeldhura.

Likewise, within next fiscal, all district headquarters will be connected to the road networks, and strategic road networks will be built in every constituency, the finance minister said.

Moreover, the budget has allocated Rs 2.15 billion for the Kohalpur-Surkhet road section to be linked with the East-West highway, and for upgradation of the Siddhartha highway.

The budget has allotted Rs 1.81 billion for expansion of Ring Road of Kathmandu Valley. Likewise, it has allocated Rs 610 million to complete blacktopping of Kanti highway and said works will be completed within next fiscal year.

To ease traffic congestion in various parts of Kathmandu Valley, the budget speech has mentioned that the government will build under-pass in New Baneshwor Chowk, tunnel in Tinkune-Koteshwor-Jadibuti section, flyover from Maitighar to Tripureshwor and upgrade the existing road section from Suryabinayak to Dhulikhel of Arniko highway.

Moreover, the budget has continued the programme of current fiscal year to construct a link road from Kimanthanka of Taplejung to Rani of Morang in the eastern region and from Korala to Triveni in the western region by next fiscal.

Last year, the government had introduced ‘Tarai-Madhesh Road Infrastructure Special Programme’ to build roads in the Tarai where there is no such access and connect them with the national highway. It has allocated Rs 4.45 billion for the purpose.

Likewise, it has allocated Rs 10.97 billion for the highway upgradation programme across the country and Rs 2.15 billion for Road Area Development Projects.

Moreover, the government has set a target to build tunnel roads in seven different regions across the country. Under this goal, the government has allocated Rs 6.27 billion for the construction of tunnel roads in Naubise-Nagdhunga.

Likewise, the government has targeted to complete the detailed project report of Tokha-Khahare-Gurgubhangyang; Butwal-Palpa Siddhababa; Koteshwor-Jadibuti; Khurkot-Chiyabari; BP Nagar-Khutiya-Dipayal and Thankot-Chitlang routes the next fiscal year.

The government also plans to bring all the roads whose construction has already been started under the supervision of Road Board.

The government has completed the feasibility and detailed project report of Kakadvitta-Bardibas and Butwal-Gaddachauki sections of the Mechi-Mahakali electric railway project this fiscal year. It plans to complete the DPR of the Mechi-Mahakali-Kathmandu link way.

Likewise, the government plans to conduct feasibility study and DPR of metrorail and monorail projects and start construction by next fiscal. It has allocated Rs 7.7 billion for the same.

Acknowledging that inland waterways is the cheapest medium of transportation, the finance minister said the government will develop the related policies within next fiscal year. It has to be noted that the government has already completed the feasibility study of water transportation system along the Koshi and Narayani rivers.

Moreover, the government has said it will complete the detailed project report of both Kathmandu-Birgunj and Kathmandu-Kyirong electric cross-border railway projects and begin construction by the end of fiscal 2021-22.

The budget has allotted Rs 7.47 billion to complete the construction of 200 new bridges. It has also allocated Rs eight billion for maintenance of various roads under the Road Board Nepal.

Moreover, the government has allocated Rs 1.53 billion for transportation management system.

To better manage the public transportation sector, the government will open offices for vehicle registration, vehicles fitness test centres, and initiate renewal and distribution of driving licences in all the provinces.


Similarly, the government has said that as energy is the major source of economic transformation in the country, two large hydropower or solar projects will be developed in each province.

The government has announced plans to add 1,000 megawatts of electricity by the next fiscal year, including that generated by Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project.

Moreover, budget has allocated Rs 13.57 billion for construction of Budhigandaki hydropower project, Rs 8.90 billion for Tanahu Reservoir Project, Rs 1.85 billion for Tamakoshi-5 hydropower project and Rs 2.2 billion for Budhi Ganga hydropower project.

The government has prioritised its flagship programme titled ‘Nepal’s water, people’s investment’ and said 19 hydropower projects with 3,500 megawatt capacity will be developed. It has said that the government will add Tamor hydropower to the national pride project.

Likewise, the government plans to electrify Province 2, Karnali Province and Far Western Province with the use of available sources of energy.

The budget has allocated Rs 4.50 billion for rural electrification and Rs 3.47 billion to ensure energy access in remote areas not linked to the national grid. The government also plans to develop more micro-hydro projects and bio-gas plants to electrify rural areas of the country.

For the development of the overall power sector, the government has allocated Rs 83.49 billion budget for next fiscal year.

Aviation sector

The government has allocated Rs 15.85 billion for aviation infrastructure. As part of its ambitious plan to bring two million tourists annually by 2020, ‘the government plans to make Tribhuvan International Airport a boutique airport and operate it round-the-clock within next fiscal year’.

The budget has allocated Rs 3.34 billion for Gautam Buddha International Airport and plans to bring it into operation next fiscal.

The government will also build necessary infrastructure for development of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism by the next fiscal year.

Novel ideas

The government has introduced some novel provisions through the budget.

For instance, contractors will from now on be held responsible for maintenance of the projects for up to five years after completion.

Likewise, the government will promote working hours in three shifts in the industrial sector.