NITDB ‘confident’ of meeting CFS deadline

KATHMANDU: Despite the one-year delay in ownership transfer of the land required to construct Container Freight Station (CFS) in Chobhar, Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) is gearing up to complete the project within the stipulated time — by 2018.

The proposed project, being undertaken with the financial assistance of the World Bank Group, was nearly cancelled due to the land acquisition process taking such a long time. Ownership transfer of the land of Himal Cement factory of Chobhar from the Ministry of Industry to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies was completed only last month. However, as per project document, the construction contract of the project is scheduled to be awarded by September.

The World Bank is extending assistance worth $15.5 million for this particular component under Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project (NIRTTP).

After settling the land ownership issue, NITDB has called for request for expression of interest to conduct the environmental impact assessment and detailed designs of the project.

The survey and detailed designs are scheduled to be completed by January 12, 2016, according to Laxman Basnet, executive director of NITDB. “The contract for the detailed designs and environmental survey will be awarded by mid-September this year.”

However, the project has yet to complete other prerequisites before starting construction.

After the completion of the detailed designs and environmental survey, NITDB will start the process to award construction contract of the CFS, that is expected to be completed by July 11, 2016. Thereafter, NITDB plans to complete all the construction works by January 11, 2018. However, the contractor would be liable if any defects are found in the construction until January of 2019.

NITDB has convinced the World Bank’s inspection team that they will complete the project within the given deadline. Hence, the component of CFS construction has not been cancelled.

The World Bank team has been inspecting the performance of the project every six months. As the land ownership row has been settled, it is believed that NITDB would be able to complete the project within the set deadline.

However, if the board needs to call the tender more than once while hiring the consultant and contractor, the project may be delayed.

NITDB Executive Director Basnet has said that it is challenging to complete the project by 2018 but they will implement it by shortening the time normally set aside for bid selection and contract awarding, among others.

The NIRTTP project came into implementation from September 2013.

After Himal Cement was shut down in 2002, the government had agreed to take the World Bank’s support to utilise that property as CFS. The government will utilise 816 ropanis of land in Chobhar for the CFS. Meanwhile, the slope landscape of the cement factory will be utilised to develop Exhibition Centre.