Biratnagar-Kimathanka trilateral road project’s disheartening progress

Biratnagar, January 9

The tri-national road from Biratnagar to Sankhuwasabha’s Kimathanka that borders China is a much talked about project and the topic of construction of Biratnagar-Kimathanka road for trilateral trade expansion has often surfaced at national and regional gatherings, including in the recently held polls.

However, a track of the 390-kilometre road section is yet to be opened 24 years after the idea was first conceived.

Former central member Kishor Pradhan of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the trilateral road network connecting India and China would contribute to boost our national economy and urged the next government to prioritise the tri-national road construction project.

Biratnagar-Kimathanka road is the shortest route connecting India and China. Of the 390-kilometre road, work on 69 kilometres of the track has started. Work along Rani of Biratnagar to Dharan of Sunsari is under way with the two-lane road being expanded into six-lane.

However, progress on it has been snail-paced as four years have passed since the road construction started. The delay has been attributed to the Contractor Company and lax project management. Only 32 per cent of the work has been completed till date against a deadline of 18 months.

Project Engineer Sumod Pokhrel said that 32 per cent work was over. The government had floated the plan to upgrade the two-lane Rani-Dharan road into a six-lane road in the fiscal 2012-13. As per Pokhrel, contract for 14 kilometres of the road has yet to be assigned. Pokhrel added the road could be expanded within two years if it faced no obstacles.

The estimated budget for expanding the 49-kilometre Rani-Dharan road into a six-lane road is over Rs 10 billion. Road expansion from Rani to Itahari is going on while the contract is yet to be assigned for the 14 kilometer Tarahara-Dharan stretch.