Road, transport budget to go up by over 50pc
KATHMANDU, July 11
The government is increasing the budget allocated to the road and transport sector by at least 50 per cent next fiscal year.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) has said it is being allocated over Rs 50 billion for next fiscal, compared to Rs 33 billion received this fiscal.
MoPIT officials said that the increased size of the budget has made it clear that there will be no shortage of resources in giving continuity to projects that are ongoing including national pride projects. Even though there has been an increase in the size of the budget, the ministry will not be launching any new projects having national importance.
MoPIT to be allocated over Rs 50 billion next fiscal, compared to Rs 33 billion received this fiscal
A majority of national pride projects fall under MoPIT’s jurisdiction, hence it receives a comparatively big chunk of the budget every fiscal year. Very few new projects can be expected in the next fiscal, as the government is focusing on reconstruction drive, according to MoPIT officials. The budget assured for MoPIT does not include resources required for reconstruction.
“We will be giving high priority to ensure continuity of projects, including the large ones that have been accorded national priority,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary of MoPIT. He said of the total budget ceiling of Rs 55 billion to be allocated to MoPIT for next fiscal, they have been informed by Ministry of Finance that around Rs 1.5 billion would be cut because government needs more resources for reconstruction.
Reconstruction and rehabilitation works will be carried out by the National Reconstruction Authority.
MoPIT has said that even though there are no new big projects planned for next fiscal, the ministry will receive additional funds to carry out national pride projects and other new small projects. As per Sitaula, budget allocation for projects like Mechi-Mahakali or East-West Electrified Railway and the Department of Transport Management, among others, has been increased.
Out of the 21 national pride projects, five projects — Mid-Hill Highway, Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track road, North-South Corridors, Postal Highway and Mechi-Mahakali railway — are being executed by MoPIT. Sitaula said that construction of the Fast Track road is slated to begin next fiscal year and there is also a plan to reduce the length of the Mid-Hill Highway.
“Up to 100 km of Mid-Hill Highway falls in a single district in some stretches and have to be brought down,” said Sitaula. It is estimated that the 1,776 km-long Mid-Hill Highway can be shortened to 1,400 km by adopting tunnel roads in certain places and bypassing some locations like Kathmandu, Pokhara and other areas. The government has already decided not to include Kathmandu and Pokhara in the proposed Mid-Hill road.
In the next fiscal, if things go as per the government’s plan, district headquarters of Humla and Dolpa will be connected to the national roads network. This is one of the targets set for the next fiscal year in the road and transport sector, as per the policies and programmes for next fiscal year unveiled recently. Similarly, the government has talked of expediting construction of Seti-Mahakali Highway and Kaligandaki, Koshi and Karnali corridors.
Besides, giving continuity to expansion of business routes like Rani-Itahari-Dharan, Birgunj-Pathlaiya, Belhiya-Butwal, Kohalpur-Nepalgunj and Jatahi-Janakpur-Dhalkebar into six lanes, preparation of Thankot-Nagdhunga and Butwal-Dobhan tunnel roads have also been planned. Likewise, feasibility studies for metro-rail, mono-rail, ropeway, cable car and waterway are some other major focus areas for the next fiscal, according to the policies and programmes.