Road projects fail to utilise financial support

Kathmandu, September 7

Majority of projects receiving support of grant or loan from development partners have failed to give good performance. This has resulted in utilisation of only around 49 per cent of foreign assistance in the road projects during the last fiscal year, 2014-15.

Of the total Rs 11.34 billion (grant and loan) provided to different road and bridge projects, the government has managed to spend only Rs 5.52 billion. In the last fiscal year, the Department of Roads (DoR) had been allocated Rs 40.23 billion budget, in which contribution of loan was 16.15 per cent and of grant was 12.12 per cent.

DoR report shows that out of Rs 6.49 billion loan, 45.04 per cent (Rs 2.92 billion) has been spent. Similarly, the percentage of grant spent is at 53.38 per cent (Rs 2.6 billion), out of total Rs 4.87 billion allocated for the last fiscal year.

Sitapaila-Dharke road, Narayanghat-Mugling section (under the Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project), Road and Traffic Security Project, Road Improvement Project (RIP), SASEC Road Connectivity and Road Sector Development Project are the projects that ranked as poor performing ones, as per annual progress report of last fiscal year.

Despite being listed as a first priority (P1) project, not even a single paisa was spent on Sitapaila-Dharke road. A total of Rs 13 million, including Rs 10 million in grant from Kuwait Fund, was allocated for the Sitapaila-Dharke road, planned to develop as an alternative route for the existing Thankot-Naubise-Dharke road which is a part of the Prithivi Highway.

“Negligence of contractors and the earthquake which hit in final quarter of last fiscal resulted in poor performance,” explained Umesh Jha, deputy director general of DoR. He added there was delay in getting ‘no objection’ for loan from Exim Bank of India for RIP. Under RIP, DoR as of mid-August, completed gravelling 13km road and upgraded 38.5km to black top standard.

Sub Regional Road Enhancement Project, supported by Asian Development Bank, completed black topping 94.75 km — Harkapur-Okhaldhunga (27.5km), Okhaldhunga-Salleri (51.75km), Nepalgunj-Kohalpur (11.5km) and 4km of Chainpur-Khadbari — to achieve financial progress

of 51.71 per cent.

The upgrading of Narayanghat-Mugling section under the Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project spent Rs 251.3 million out of total allocated Rs 1.18 billion. World Bank has provided aid package of Rs three billion for this project to upgrade and expand a 33-km section of the Narayanghat-Mugling road to Asian Highway standard and help enhance trade and mobility.

Even though there was low progress in majority of projects supported with grant and loan, financial progress of other projects, including Postal Highway, Banepa-Sindhuli-Bardibas road and Ring Road improvement, was above 80 per cent, as per the DoR.

Postal Highway spent 86.6 per cent of total allocated Rs 2.08 billion, Banepa-SIndhuli-Bardibas reported financial progress of 97.74 per cent, while Ring Road improvement spent Rs 948.69 million out of Rs one billion.

Last fiscal, DoR achieved physical progress of 77.07 per cent and financial progress on spending stood at 80.34 per cent in its 67 projects related to roads and bridges. It constructed 648-km earthen roads, black topped 601km and carried out regular maintenance of 8,908 km roads, among others. Likewise, it completed construction of 49 bridges out of total target of 85 bridges over strategic and local roads.