Postal Highway Project moving at snail’s pace

BIRGUNJ: Construction works of the Postal Highway have failed to gain momentum as issues such as bridge construction and distribution of land compensation remain unattended.

The national pride project had its maps laid before the East-West Highway which is currently in operation. However, construction works of more than dozen bridges at Bara, Parsa, Rautahat and Chitwan did not conclude in stipulated time pushing the project deadline.

Although the think-tanks in Terai believe that the project is a road to transformation for the region, environmental impact assessments, construction ban imposed by forest authorities and lack of government coordination have resulted in unwanted delays in bridge construction, according to project office in Parsa.

Apart from construction of bridges, works of a 53 kilometre road section from Laxumanwa Chok in Birgunj to Thori in Chitwan have not resumed yet.

According to Postal Highway Project Office Chief Anutha Lal Patel, only 20 per cent of the construction works pertaining to track opening and drain construction in 17-kilometre stretch in Bariyapur in Bara to Aruwa River in Rautahat and 22-kilometre stretch from Laxumanwa to Bariyapur have concluded at present.

The highway upon completion would play a major role in expansion of road network in rural areas in Terai, marketing of agricultural products, aid in poverty alleviation and assist in infrastructural development, authorities said.

It has been argued that the construction works lingered after an Indian contractor, Bhiswa Construction of Hyderabad, who had agreed to construct 119 kilometres of the highway left the project five years ago.

However, government had committed to conclude construction of bridges and roads within 30 months. With seven months of the stipulated time gone, the construction is yet to gain momentum.

Authorities have planned to construct 125 bridges along the highway that would stretch 1792 kilometres across the Terai belt.