Kathmandu, October 13
The government has decided to purchase the detailed project report of Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway Project from the Indian company — Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services — which had prepared the study report of the mega-project.
The Cabinet meeting today directed the project directorate committee led by Lieutenant General of the Nepali Army Purna Chandra Thapa to hold discussions with IL&FC and finalise the deal.
As per the Cabinet decision, the directorate committee will finalise the amount to be paid to IL&FC. “The committee will decide the price of the report after holding discussions with IL&FC,” Defence Minister Bhimsen Das Pradhan said.
“Considering the time needed to prepare a new DPR, the government decided to buy the already prepared report to save time,” said Minister Pradhan.
The Ministry of Defence had sent a proposal related to purchase of the DPR from IL&FC on Wednesday. As per the MoD proposal, the project directorate will recommend the amount to be paid to IL&FC for the DPR.
The expressway will be constructed as per the Asian Highway Standards.
According to Pradhan, 99 bridges and a 1.35-km tunnel is also included in the project.
The government led by CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had decided to construct the project itself and allocated Rs 10 billion for the same in the annual budget of fiscal 2016-17. This has been given continuity in the budget of the current fiscal too.
The subsequent government led by CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal had decided to hand over the project to the Nepali Army on May 4 and the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had handed the project over to the Nepali Army on August 11.
As per the government’s decision, the army will carry out all the managerial work of the project and the government will provide the necessary budget.
The government has given four years to the army to complete the project. Around six months of that time period has already passed.
Earlier, the government had selected the IL&FC to implement the project as per the provision of Build, Own, Operate and Transfer Act.
As per the Act, if the consultant company gets the entire authority of the project, the cost of DPR will be adjusted with the project cost. However, in case the consultant that prepared the DPR does not get the authority to construct the project, the government should pay the cost of preparing the DPR.
Earlier, a study team formed by the government, coordinated by then vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Min Bahadur Shrestha had also recommended that the government purchase the DPR from IL&FC.
The committee had also recommended allocation in the annual budget for the project and said it could be completed within three to five years with domestic resources.
IL&FS had submitted the DPR of the expressway to the government in July 2015. The DPR has estimated total cost of the project to hover at around Rs 100 billion.
Out of the total length of 76 kilometres, the project has acquired land for 70 kilometres till date.
The Ministry of Population and Environment has already approved the environmental impact assessment report.
The Nepali Army had opened the track for the project in April 2014.
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.
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