10 national pride projects in pipeline

Kathmandu, November 18

Even though the government has not been able to complete the previous projects listed as national pride projects within the stipulated timeframe, the National Planning Commission is planning to add 10 more projects to the list.

The government has introduced multi-year contracts for priority projects and allocates resources every fiscal till the projects are completed. However, the spending of these projects has been far lower than the allocated sum.

Since a huge amount of money allocated to projects whose performance is dismal has been lying idle, the government plans to add other mega projects as pride projects and allot money to these new projects, said Puspa Raj Kadel, vice-chairman of NPC.

“The government has allocated over Rs 130 billion yearly for the 21 pride projects, but the outcome has been disappointing. So, we need to diversify the investment in other projects that need to be constructed immediately,” he stated.

Recently, the government added projects funded by US-backed Millennium Challenge Corporation-Nepal that will facilitate power transmission and road projects to the national pride project list. Hence, there are 22 pride projects now.

According to Kadel, the NPC is planning to add the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Modernisation Project, Madan Bhandari Technical University and Sunkoshi Marin Diversion Multi-purpose Project as national pride projects. Likewise, construction of Dodhara Chandani bridge, 410-megawatt Nalsing Gad Storage Project, 756-MW Tamor Storage Hydroelectric Project and Madan Bhandari Highway will also be included in the list.

“We plan to present the aforementioned projects at the meeting of the National Development Action Committee in January.   The PM will chair the meeting,” said Kadel, adding that the NPC was working in close coordination with ministries for suggestions based on which projects could be included in the basket.

As per the progress report card, Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower, Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara Regional International Airport are performing satisfactorily in terms of spending the allocated budget. “We hope that Upper Tamakoshi and GBIA will be completed within this fiscal and PRIA by next fiscal,” Kadel said, adding that Melamchi Drinking Water Project could be completed by next fiscal but nothing is for sure.

Meanwhile, West Seti Hydropower, Budigandaki Hydropower, Nijgadh International Airport, Railway and Metro Development Project, North-South Kaligandaki Corridor, Pushpa Lal Mid-Hill Highway, Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track and President Chure Conservation Programme have the worst progress reports.

Progress of other remaining projects has been mediocre and construction works need to be accelerated if they are to be completed on time. “NPC is planning to complete 17 national pride projects over the next four years. To implement the projects effectively, NCP will soon introduce stricter guidelines for line ministries and project execution agencies to accelerate and complete the projects on time,” he added.

However, the government has been continuously extending the deadline of a majority of NPPs and some of the projects that were supposed to have already started but are in limbo for years.