Nepali Army to complete Fast Track by mid-2024

Kathmandu, December 9

Nepali Army (NA), which has been assigned the full responsibility for construction of 72.5-kilometre-long Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track, has expressed its commitment to complete the project by May 13, 2024.

Organising a press meet here today, NA said it would complete the project on time and put an end to all the criticism it has been facing.

“We are almost ready to execute the project which is in the top priority of the government and the project will be completed within the stipulated timeframe,” said Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey, spokesperson for Nepali Army.

The construction of the Fast Track project was expected to gain momentum after the Cabinet approved its detailed project report (DPR) on August 21. The DPR of the project had been submitted by a South Korean firm called Soosung Engineering and Consulting Company to the Nepali Army on February 4. The DPR was later forwarded to the Cabinet for approval by the Ministry of Defence on March 16.

Pandey further informed that NA has developed a new strategy for timely implementation of the project and will formally start its construction in the beginning of 2020. “Under the direction of Chief of Army Staff General Purna Chandra Thapa, we will prepare our new strategy by December-end and immediately implement project execution from January,” he reiterated.

As per the new DPR, the project will be constructed based on ‘Asian Highway Class I’ standards. This means that the highway will have four or more lanes and the construction material used for the pavement will be asphalt or cement concrete.

Based on the DPR, the construction cost of the project has been estimated at Rs 175.19 billion, which is Rs 63.19 billion more than the earlier estimate of Rs 112 billion. “The consultant company has determined the estimated cost of the project based on the government set rate and international standards.” However, NA has yet to give a clear answer for the reasons behind the rise in construction cost.

Of the total 72.5-km-long project, 55.2 km stretch will be roads, 6.41 km tunnels and the remaining 10.59 km will be bridges.

As per Pandey, NA will construct three tunnels — one 3.35-km-long tunnel in Mahadev Danda of Lalitpur district, another 1.63-km-long in Dhandre Danda and the third 1.43-km-long tunnel in Len Danda of Makawanpur district. There will be 71 small and big bridges along the Fast Track as mentioned in the DPR.