Outer Ring Road construction process halted
Kathmandu, July 20
The government has stopped all the necessary works related to the construction of the 71.92-kilometre-long Outer Ring Road.
The project aims to interconnect all three old cities of the Valley and newly-declared municipalities through a single road network.
Minister for Urban Development, Mohammad Istiyak Rai, has said that preparations regarding construction of Outer Ring Road had been halted so that the ministry could conduct a fresh study on how private land could be acquired for the project.
“It looks like the land mafia has got involved by buying land in the places that would be covered by the project,” stated Rai. “They have in fact plotted the land and sold the plots to high-level government officials and their relatives.”
The minister further said that the plots have been sold to former government ministers, high-ranking political leaders, former secretaries and other high-level government employees. He added that land has also been sold to a former chief of Nepali Army and a former inspector general of Nepal Police.
Minister Rai informed that the land mafia had bought the land through which the Outer Ring Road would have passed and sold it in small plots of three aanas. “We will soon form a high-level investigation committee to look into the matter and take necessary action against all those involved in this.”
As per Minister Rai, the government will have to pay more compensation when the land is divided into smaller plots while acquiring them to build the Outer Ring Road. He added that the government may change the alignment of the project to reduce the amount that needs to be paid as compensation.
The detailed project report (DPR) of the Outer Ring Road that was prepared in 2008 had estimated the project cost at Rs 72 billion, but now the cost has tripled and the project has become unfeasible.
The Cabinet, in April this year, had endorsed the DPR of the 6.6-km long Satungal-Chobhar section of the project. However, the problem now is with the remaining 65.2-km section of the project.
The first phase of construction of the project will commence from the Chobhar-Satungal section and will occupy 8,000 ropanis of land that had been acquired from 14,000 landowners. Of the total length of the Outer Ring Road, 35.08 kilometres will lie in Kathmandu, 15.80 km in Lalitpur and 21.05 km in Bhaktapur.
The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has said the works related to starting the construction of Satungal-Chobhar section was in the final stage.
“The 10-year old DPR has become outdated now. A lot of urban infrastructure have already been constructed in the project area in the last decade, so we need to reconsider the entire planning now,” said Dipak Shrestha, head of the Outer Ring Road Project.
The width of proposed ring road will be 50 metres and the government will acquire 500 metres — 250 metres each on either side of the road.
All expenses for the construction of the Outer Ring Road will be borne by the government. The eight-lane road will have cycle lanes, green belts and disabled-friendly footpath. According to the MoUD, the Outer Ring Road will be constructed through land pooling model, considering north, south, east and west of the Valley as its four corners.