NA proposes change to Fast Track alignment

Kathmandu, July 20

Due to the never-ending dispute regarding land compensation at Khokana and Bungamati, which are the starting points of the Fast Track road project, the Nepali Army has proposed the government to change its alignment.

The indigenous Newar communities of Khokana and Bungamati in southern Lalitpur are concerned about the damage that the Fast Track construction could cause to their property, land and cultural rights. On the other hand, residents of other places through which the expressway will be constructed want the project to be started as soon as possible.

The Fast Track will apparently create more economic opportunities for the nation.

“Nepali Army has proposed to change the alignment of the project. They want to shift the starting point to Farsidol, which is five kilometres south from the existing point in Khokana and Bungamati,” said Rajendra Raj Sharma, spokesperson for the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT). “But the government has not yet decided on that proposal, as the detailed project report of the Fast Track has not been prepared yet.”

Earlier, the government had planned to remove the residents of Khokana forcefully by using the security mechanism, but it later backtracked from that decision after facing a lot of opposition from all quarters.

Due to the conflict between the government and the communities of Khokana, the fate of the project is still uncertain.

“The track opening process from Khokana is already over, but now the problem of land compensation has surfaced. It has not yet been decided whether the Fast Track will be built from Khokana or from the newly proposed point in Farsidol,” said Gokul Bhandari, brigadier general and also spokesperson for Nepali Army.

Nepali Army has been assigned full responsibility to execute 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 of tunnel and bridge sections.

Earlier, Nepali Army had short-listed six international bidders to prepare a new DPR of the project. It has said that it will soon finalise the contractor for the DPR and has scheduled to finish the DPR within six months after contractor is selected.

Though only a width of 25 metres of the Fast Track will be metalled, NA has cleared a breadth of 30 metres. Of the total length, 4.9 km of the Fast Track will lie in Kathmandu district, 7.9 km in Lalitpur, 56.7 km in Makawanpur and 7.6 km in Bara.