KATHMANDU, July 12

The country’s total road network length crossed 80,000 km by the first eight months of the current fiscal year. The road network includes Strategic Road Network (SRN), Local Road Network (LRN) and rural roads built by different implementing agencies of the government.

The Economic Survey 2014-15 released by the Ministry of Finance on Sunday, shows that the country has total road network of 80,078 km that includes 26,935 km roads constructed and being maintained by the Department of Roads (DoR) and 53,143 km roads constructed by the government local bodies. DoR looks after the highways and feeder roads that fall under the category of SRN and LRN.

With the addition of 152 km black-topped roads during the first eight months of the current fiscal year, total network of black-topped roads under SRN and LRN has reached 11,349 km. During the eight-month period, DoR opened track for 231 km roads and gravelled 106 km roads. Similarly, it carried out maintenance on 8,900 km roads. In the last fiscal year, the department had conducted maintenance on 8,200 km roads.

Access to road service is considered the basic requirement for economic development. However, the survey report shows that even though there is presence of huge road network in rural areas, such road infrastructure lacks proper upgrading. Of the total 53,143 km local rural roads, only 1,697 km has been black-topped, 38,898 km is earthen road and 12,548 km has been gravelled.

During the first eight months of the current fiscal year, local bodies upgraded 7 km roads to black-top standard, opened track of 130 km new roads and gravelled 123 km. Of the total road length that is maintained by local bodies like municipalities and district development committees, 7,290 km is all-weather road that falls under main network of district road.

Similarly, there is 6,825 km all-weather road that connects village development committees, as per the data provided in the survey by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development and Department of Local Development and Agriculture Roads. A total of 38,768 km roads fall under fair-weather road category which is 73 per cent of total road network under district road and networks connecting village development committees.

Despite rise in road network reaching rural areas, district headquarters of two districts Humla and Dolpa are yet to be connected with national road network. One remote district — Mugu — was brought into the national road network in the fiscal year 2012-13. Linking Humla and Dolpa with road network will be one of the major targets in road sector development during the next fiscal year, as per the policies and programmes for next fiscal year unveiled recently.