Nepal | January 19, 2021

Lack of budget management affects road construction

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Road construction across the country continues to be affected in lack of budget management.

According to the Department of Roads (DoR), a total of 575 road projects have been stranded so far in lack of management of funds. As per the first quadrimester report of the department, some road projects could not be taken forward after the provincial governments did not take their responsibility, while others were stranded in lack of budget.

Following the federal system, the ministry has handed over the provincial level projects to the provincial governments, however as they have delayed in taking over the projects, road construction have been affected, said Ramesh Kumar Singh, information officer of DoR. As per him, the provincial governments are not being able to collect resources for the investment on roads, due to which they might not want to take over big projects.

Thus, DoR is currently discussing how to sort out this issue, which requires policy level changes, he added.

Projects worth around Rs 2.50 billion have been stranded, with nil progress this fiscal year. Policy level changes are needed to take forth some of the projects while remaining are under process of distribution.

While there were 906 stranded road projects in the last fiscal, the number has dropped to 575 in the current fiscal year. Currently road projects under 1,425 tenders are being constructed.

In the first four months of the current fiscal year, blacktopping of around 75 km roads in the country was completed. The department has targeted to complete blacktopping of 1,300 km roads in this fiscal.

As per the first quadrimester report of the department, a total of 11.17 per cent of the total budget allocated for roads has been spent so far.

Nevertheless, the department expects timely spending of the budget in the current fiscal. In the previous fiscal, the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the road construction. However, in the current fiscal year the works are going smoothly, the department has claimed.

In the previous fiscal year 2019-20, blacktopping of a total of 1,089 km roads had been completed, of which 729 km were newly constructed roads while the remaining were renovated.

A version of this article appears in print on December 04, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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