Nepal | June 03, 2020

PM wary about estimated cost of fast track project

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, July 10

Following the concerns raised in the parliamentary committees and the Cabinet about timely completion of the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has held discussions with the line ministry and other related ministries.

PM Oli sought details about the progress of the much-hyped 76.2-kilometre-long fast track in a discussion held on Monday with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Ishwor Pokharel, Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth, Nepali Army Chief Purna Chandra Thapa and other officials related to the project.

Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey, who is also the spokesperson for NA, informed that NA’s project officials briefed the present condition of the project and assured timely completion of the project during the Monday’s meeting.

However, PM Oli expressed strong reservations against the estimated cost of the project as determined by the detailed project report (DPR).

The NA had awarded the contract to prepare the DPR to a South Korean firm, Soosung Engineering and Consulting, on October 2 last year at a cost of Rs 101.2 million.

However, after getting the DPR from Korean Firm, NA has suggested to change some of the alignments in Khokana and Bungamati of Lalitpur following complaints from the locals.

One NA source informed that the project is estimated to cost nearly Rs 180 billion.

“During the meeting, PM Oli and Finance Minister Khatiwada asked why the projected cost had gone up compared to the previous DPR estimate and urged NA to find ways to minimise the cost,” the NA official told The Himalayan Times seeking anonymity due to sensitivity of the matter.

Earlier, the government had handed over the task of conducting DPR to an Indian firm, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL- &FS). The IL&FS had completed the DPR study in 2015 and suggested that the project could be completed at Rs 112 billion. The contract with IL&FS was scrapped in 2016 and it was announced that Nepal would build the project on its own.

The defence ministry has tabled the revised DPR of the fast track project to the Cabinet, but the latter has not approved it yet.

As per the NA official, the meeting has formed a committee comprising officials from Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and NA to look into how the project cost could be brought down.

The meeting has also directed the NA to categorise the work that will be carried out by the NA, domestic contractors and foreign contractors.

NA has been assigned the full responsibility to carry out the fast track project, which it has segregated into three segments. Out of the 76.2-kilometre-long expressway, NA initially plans to construct 17 km on its own, hire dependable Nepali contractors for 37 km of the stretch and sign up foreign contractors for remaining 22.2 km section, which will include tunnels and bridges.


A version of this article appears in print on July 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Tropical storm kills 17 in El Salvador and Guatemala

SAN SALVADOR: Rains from Tropical Storm Amanda left at least 17 dead and seven missing while causing extensive damage across El Salvador and Guatemala that pushed thousands of people into shelters amid the coronavirus pandemic. EL Salvador Interior Minister Mario Durán said Monday some 7,000 peo Read More...

Is pedestrian and cycle-friendly mobility possible post-lockdown? 

Kathmandu   Cycling to his place of work, Dr Paban Sharma, Professor at Patan Academy of Health Sciences, has had to face the brunt of the police officials on more than one occasion. Ever since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24, Sharma’s preferred means of commute has been h Read More...

Nepal Airlines Corporation, Airbus, aircraft, Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, Toulouse, France

Nepal Airlines operated 22 chartered flights during lockdown

Kathmandu, June 2 Although the government had restricted operations of domestic and international flights in the wake of nationwide lockdown, the national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), has been conducting chartered flights under special conditions. According to the Corporation, a Read More...

Preparing schools for a changing digital landscape

In the last two decades, the world has witnessed a dramatic shift in both its educational and technical landscapes. Nepal has attempted to follow suit. I grew up in a middle class family in south eastern Nepal. We did not have a computer at home, let alone a cell phone. My family used a dial up p Read More...

Coronavirus cases in Karnali Province jump to 252 with 54 new infections

KATHMANDU: Fifty-four additional people have tested positive for the coronavirus infection in Karnali Province, on Tuesday. As of today, five districts of the province have witnessed cases of COVID-19. With the newly confirmed infections, number of cases has reached 252 in the province. Until Read More...

In Pictures: Masks On, Game On

Local youths playing cricket to spend time during lockdown with their mask on for safety in Kshetrapati, Kathmandu, on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Photo: Balkrishna Thapa Chhetri/ THT Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 6.29 million, death toll nears 375,000

At least 6,290,684 people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and 374,933 have died, a Reuters tally shows. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. Meanwhile, US he Read More...

FIFA asks leagues to use "common sense" over Floyd protests

BERN: World soccer's governing body FIFA has asked competition organisers to use "common sense" with players who display messages of protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in the United States. FIFA regulations bar players from displaying any "po Read More...