Award fast track project to Indian firm: DPM

Kathmandu, September 2

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi has reiterated his stand of awarding the contract to construct Kathmandu-Tarai-Fast-Track road to an Indian firm.

Nidhi’s remark contradicts view of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who recently said he was against awarding the project to a foreign company.

The erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government had decided that Nepal would itself build the fast-track road.

During a meeting of the International Relations and Labour Committee of the Parliament today, Nidhi claimed that awarding the contract to an Indian company was in the interest of Nepal and criticised CPN-UML for opposing the same.

As a Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport under the Sushil Koirala-led government, Nidhi had signed an initial deal of constructing the project with the Indian firm, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Transportation Networks, under build, own, operate and transfer modality.

Later, the Supreme Court had ordered not to award the project to the Indian firm.

“The erstwhile government hastily decided that the project would be constructed by Nepal itself,” said Nidhi, who recently returned from India visit as Prime Minister Dahal’s special envoy.

He claimed that the UML had earlier protested the Arun III hydropower project, due to which country had been facing long power cuts till date, and the party was again trying to foil yet another project that would benefit Nepal.

UML lawmakers, including Chudamani BK Jangali, questioned Nidhi’s intent of awarding the project to the Indian firm despite the apex court’s ruling against it.

Talking to The Himalayan Times, Jangali said he had stated that billions of rupees of Nepali Army, Citizens Investment Trust and Employees’ Provident Fund had been lying unused and could be used to finance the fast track project.