New bridges across country in offing

KATHMANDU: The construction of about 100 new motorable bridges across the country is being launched in the current fiscal year that ends in mid-July.

According to the Ministry for Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW), about 200 bridges are under construction while the construction of 100 more such bridges will be launched within the current fiscal year. The construction of the bridges is expected to be completed within six years of its initiation.

“The Ministry has been working to launch the construction of some 100 new motorable bridges within the current fiscal year,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, joint-secretary at the MoPPW. “Construction of 200 bridges is going on,”

he said.

The government's plan to construct some 300 motorable bridges in the country within six years will be impossible unless an additional budget is allocated annually for the purpose.

“If the government allocates budget in the present ratio for the bridges, only the construction of about 180 bridges will be completed within six years,” said Sitaula.

“Rs 1.75 billion is flatly allocated every year,” he told The Himalayan Times. “Rs 10 billion is necessary to complete the constriction of the bridges.”

Sitaula said the ministry has demanded additional Rs 750 million for the current fiscal year aiming at constructing 71 bridges. “Only 30 bridges will be built this year from the allocated budget,” he said.

Along with the construction of roads across the nation, the necessity of the construction of bridges is on rise.

There are 18,000km of roads throughout the country. Of them, 9,000km of road falls under the MoPPW while the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) has been handling the remaining portion of roads.

Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, spokesperson of the MoLD, said that the ministry constructs about 10 motorable bridges annually. “The government should give priority to the construction of the bridges,” he added.

At least Rs 2 billion is needed for MoLD yearly, however, only Rs 440 million is issued.”

A total of 10,000km of roads come into operation throughout the year.

Some 8,000km of roads come into operation only in dry season.

“A bridge is necessary in average of each five kilometres of road due to the geographical structure and number of rivers and streams,” said Sitaula. “There are already 1,300 motorable bridges when we need additional 300 bridges,” he added.Only Rs 30 million is annually allocated to renovate existing 1,300 bridges. “Ten per cent of them are at dilapidated condition,” he worried.

The MoPPW has been constructing the bridges on its own investment for last one decade although the foreign donors have proposed to assist for a few bridges.

• Nepal Government funded Mechi bridge estimated cost Rs 500 million (Initiated)

• ADB funded Chatara (Koshi) bridge estimated at Rs 1 billion (In pipeline)

• WB funded Karnali bridge estimated at Rs 650 million (In pipeline)

• Rs 150 million for Arun bridge to be funded by DFID (In pipeline)

• Rs 100 million for Sabhakhola bridge to be funded by DFID (In pipeline)