Water, sanitation projects making tardy progress

Of 527 projects, only 115 will be over by year-end

Kathmandu, October 6:

Work on water and sanitation projects, one of the major sectors of infrastructure development, is not moving at a satisfactory pace in the districts.

A document describing the details of present status of the projects shows that the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) is working on 527 projects. However, only 115 projects will be completed this year. The government is working on 148 old projects and 227 new projects.

The government will spend Rs 1.2 billion to complete the projects, which are expected to benefit 3.5 lakh people.

Water and sanitation projects are underway in all 75 districts, but no district will be able to complete all its projects this year.

An official at the DWSS said that the government undertakes new projects just to “highlight them in progress reports” and make the donors believe that work is in progress. “But they (the government) do not want to complete the projects because it will render many of the project employees jobless,” he said, seeking anonymity.

The DWSS has added 16 projects in the existing five and continuing two projects

in Nuwakot district. But none of the projects will be completed this year.

Eleven projects are underway in Surkhet, 10 in Sindhupalchowk, 8 in Bhaktapur, 7 in Dolkha and 6 in Saptari. However, none of these projects are going to be completed this year.

Sixteen such projects are underway in Morang, 15 in Gulmi, 14 in Gorkha, 12 in Baglung, 8 in Parbat and Darchula, 7 in Lamjung, 6 in Khotang and Bhojpur, 5 in Siraha, Makawanpur and Dhanusha. However, each of these districts will witness the completion of one project this year.

Development region-wise, 19 water and sanitation projects out of 102 in the eastern region, 30 out of 172 in the central region, 36 out of 136 in the western region, 18 out of 65 in the mid-western and 12 out of 52 in the far-western region will witness completion this year.

Asked to comment on this scenario, director-general of the DWSS, Hari Prasad Sharma, said that the department has not been able to meet the targets every year.

He said that the policy of the government of not releasing sufficient budget in all districts was to blame for the pace of progress. According to him, the “progress” in projects is more satisfactory compare to the past.

“We have to say that this much of progress is achievement. The delay in project completion occurs when the political leaders recommend more projects in their respective constituencies and the Ministry of Finance refuses to allocate budget for the completion of the projects,” he said.

The DWSS has a budget of Rs 2,650 million for various projects for the fiscal year 2064/65.