Kathmandu, June 24
Parliament’s Development and Technology Committee has expressed its doubt on timely completion of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Project.
The committee raised a question over the slow pace of the project during a meeting held today with Nepali Army (NA). Meanwhile, NA has also been criticised for beginning the work of the fast track without getting the detailed project report (DPR) of the project approved.
During the meeting today with lawmakers, NA has asked for the committee’s support to expedite the construction work.
Project Chief Lieutenant Colonel Sadar Lal Shrestha admitted that the DPR is yet to receive approval from the Cabinet. “We have been waiting for Cabinet to approve the DPR of the project for the last three months.
And while we have already initiated the project, it is as per the DPR,” he said.
As per Shrestha, NA had presented the DPR to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on March 3, when the latter had directed NA to submit the DPR to the Cabinet. “As per the PM’s direction, we submitted the DPR to the Cabinet, however, we haven’t received any response yet,” he said.
He further said that although the work of road section has commenced, the work of bridges and tunnels cannot be initiated unless the DPR receives a go-ahead from the Cabinet.
Responding to NA’s statement, lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction at the slow progress of the project and said the reasons presented were ‘not credible’.
“Citing lack of approval of the DPR for the snail-paced works is not justifiable,” said Kalyani Kumari Khadka, chairperson of the committee.
She further expressed the committee’s concern over timely completion of the project. “If the project work is to be continued in the same manner, it is unlikely to meet the completion deadline,” she added.
Likewise, lawmakers have also said that construction delay might increase the investment cost of the project. Amidst this, the committee meeting has decided to direct the Cabinet to approve the DPR immediately to speed up the construction work.
NA has been assigned the full responsibility to carry out the Fast Track project, which it has segregated into three segments. Out of the 76.2-kilometre-long expressway, it plans to construct 17 km on its own, hire dependable Nepali contractors for 37 km of the stretch and sign up foreign contractors for the remaining 22.2 km section, which will include tunnels and bridges.
A version of this article appears in print on June 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.