DPR to be ready by end of January: Minister Pokhrel

Kathmandu, December 13

The government will receive the Detailed Project Report of Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track road project 20 months after laying of the project’s foundation.

The project will cover 76.2 kilometres from Khokana in Lalitpur to Nijgadh in Bara district.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Ishwar Pokhrel and Defence Secretary Bishnu Lamsal told the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the  House of Representatives today that the DPR of the project would be ready by the last week of January. Former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had laid the foundation stone of the project on 28 May 2017 in Nijgadh. The project is being built by the Nepali Army. The NA will construct the project in the next four years.

“We have been working to complete this project within the stipulated deadline of four years. The project matrix has stated the timeline” Lamsal told the panel.

He said had the government waited for the DPR to be completed; it would not be in a position to meet the target of completing the project within the next four years. “If we follow procurement laws, we cannot complete the project within the next four years,” he added.

NA Major General Yogendra Bahadur Khand, the project chief, told the panel that the DPR would be prepared on the basis of land acquisition completed by the government, feasibility study done by the Asian Development Bank and the government’s environment impact assessment report. According to him, almost 90 per cent of the land needed has already been acquired and 96 per cent trees have already been felled.

The NA will start construction of the tunnel portion only after the DPR is ready.

DPM Pokhrel said the Korean Company which was preparing the DPR would finalise it by the last week of January. Pokhrel said that he was not in favour of ruining Khokana’s historical and cultural importance. “I will talk to the prime minister about it and we should rethink.” The lawmakers told DPM Pokhrel to bring an integrated plan as Khokana was one of the centre points of the 132 kV transmission line, Bagmati corridor, smart city and outer ring road’s alignment.

Lawmakers also told the DPM to address locals’ grievance that they were not getting sufficient compensation for the land acquired by the government.

Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa said compensation for land acquired is based on legal criteria. “The government cannot increase compensation as demanded by the locals of three areas — Khokana, Sainbu and Dukuchhap — without changing the laws,” Thapa said. According to project Chief Khand, only 2.9 per cent land would be acquired within the 16 square km of those three areas.  In those areas 0.44 per cent government land, 0.26 per cent Guthi land and 2.2 per cent private land should be acquired for the project.

According to government policy, the government would acquire private land at the rate of Rs 171,875 to Rs 296,875 per ana. The government has yet to pay Rs 1,388,487,382 to locals whose land has been acquired.