Plan to end valley traffic woes goes off track

Tika R Pradhan

Kathmandu, April 23:

Around half a billion rupees have already been spent in the construction of highly- prioritised

“alternative highways” to link the Kathmandu Valley with the rest of the country, but the construction of a fast track is still a distant dream. According to director-general of the Department of Roads (DoR), Durga Prasad KC, “Fast track with wide and high standard roads will only be possible after a decade,” as the tenth five-year plan will only conduct feasibility study and the construction is expected within the 11th five-year plan. The DoR conducted pre-feasibility studies for the Kanti Highway that links Lalitpur to Hetauda and the way to Birgunj through the Bagmati Corridor. Still, none of the plans have materialised. Kanti Highway has been gathering dust at the Department of Roads for over 23 years. Citing an urgent need of an alternative way to reach the Terai in the shortest time possible, a preliminary study was conducted with Finnish support a few years ago. “Still, we are seeking which alternative could be the most appropriate for the capital,” said the DG.

An engineer at the DoR said the donors would not accept the feasibility study and therefore there is no use of study. KC said the Japanese government had shown interest to support the study. “We have approached them, but have not received formal response.” “If they do not respond, we will seek other multinational donor agencies for the same.” He added the fast track has already become the top priority for the government to cope with the increasing population and traffic blues while coming in and going out of the valley. “The government itself can take initiatives to begin the work.” “It is also essential to reduce the problems due to increasing population of the valley to make it possible for them to attend offices in the valley living at the nearest cities and also the load carriers can return from the valley reducing

traffic congestion,” KC said.

On the other hand, both the Kathmandu and Makwanpur DDCs have spent Rs 70,00,000 for the Dakshinkali-Chhaimale Sisneri-Kulekhani road along with an overwhelming support from the locals. “Within the next 15 to 20 days we will open the route,” said Kedar Neupane, Local Development Officer of Kathmandu, adding all other plans to join the valley from the rest of the country are just paper works. “It takes just three hours to reach Hetauda from Kathmandu via the 70-km Pharping-Humanebhanjyang-Kulekhani road.”