Kathmandu, May 21
At a time when the government is struggling to spend the allocated capital budget, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) — the ministry that is allocated the biggest chunk of capital budget every year — has proposed to increase its budget by 35 per cent to Rs 137 billion for next fiscal year.
It has to be noted though that even as 10 months of the fiscal year have already passed, MoPIT has been able to spend only 40 per cent of its allocated budget. The ministry has, nonetheless, claimed that it will be realistic in allocating the next fiscal’s budget for projects under its jurisdiction.
According to MoPIT, it has included new programmes like vessel registration office; tunnel development programme; strong research and development unit; transport management system; a vehicle fitness centre each in Teku, Hetauda and Butwal; integrated framework for completion of four major highways, among others.
Shiva Hari Sapkota, joint secretary at MoPIT, said that due to lack of proper research and development system, implementation of infrastructure projects gets delayed.
“We have to reform the existing mechanism that directly or indirectly hampers our development works, so the upcoming budget will address that issue,” he informed.
He further said that the ministry will focus on various incomplete projects rather than introducing new programmes.
“Our ministry has long been criticised for never completing any project on time. So, we want to change that perception from next fiscal.”
The ministry has claimed that it has been recently facing problems from provincial and local governments, as they have said that they are unable to implement a number of multi-year projects that were handed over by the central government.
In this context, Sapkota said that such projects will have to be managed as per the jurisdiction of each layer of the government.
According to him, the ministry will revive Nepal Engineering Council and ensure its active participation in development works. Moreover, the budget will focus more on developing tunnel projects like, Tokha-Gurge of Nuwakot, Khurkot-Khaniyakharka of Sindhuli, Siddhababa section of Mahendra Highway, among others.
“Previously we faced many problems from government entities as well as locals. Most of our projects land in controversy owing to environmental issues. So, now we are planning to develop an integrated system that will include all concerned stakeholders to resolve such problems,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on May 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.