EDITORIAL: Always the same

The budget spent on the development projects at the last moment makes no sense as it compromises on the quality of work

The road expansion drive in the urban centres, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley, has been an uphill task for the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA).

The authorities quite often face resistance from the political parties representing their constituencies and the locals who do not let the authorities even mark the buildings encroaching upon the road.

The locals, particularly from Teku to Soaltee Mode, Jorpati to Sankhu sections of the roads which are under expansion, are opposing the drive. It has been years since the KVDA started expanding these roads.

But the authority has not been able to expedite the road expansion drive due to local resistance, petitions in the court and political pressure.

The Central Regional Road Directorate, after years of its efforts, has just started relocating the electricity and telephone poles from the sides of the roads along the Tripureshwor-Kalangki and Kalangki-Nagdhunga sections of the busiest road.

However, there has been no progress along the Jorpati-Sankhu stretch. According to the plan both the stretches are supposed to be completed by July 15, 2017. It means that the concerned agency is required to accomplish its task of road expansion within eight months to come.

It appears that the works on the road expansion on both the stretches are unlikely to completed within the deadline set.

Officials at the Central Regional Road Directorate said that they had just completed about 20 percent of the works on both stretches of the roads. The Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project had envisaged expanding about 53-KM of the roads in nine areas in July this year.

But it has been lagging behind the schedule. The parliamentary Development Committee has time and again instructed the concerned authorities to complete the road expansion works within the deadline, but to no avail.

Committee chairman Rabindra Adhikari has recently said that the concerned ministry and line agencies do not abide by the instructions his committee issued in the past. There is a tendency of passing the buck to others for not making expected progress on the development works on time.

The constitutional provision has it that the fiscal budget shall be presented on May 28 every year so that the budget will be released on time for development projects.

This year too, the budget was presented on that day and Parliament passed it on time. But the Finance Ministry delayed releasing the allocated budgets to the concerned ministries which have further made a delayed in releasing them to the projects leading to further delays in works.

Such trend must stop once and for all if the development projects were to be accomplished within the deadline. Looking at the current scenario, only five percent of total Rs. 311 billion development budget has been spent during the first quadrimester.

The government should have spent about 25 percent of the development budget by that time. The ministries start releasing the development budget to the projects just before the last quadrimester only to be spent in one or two months before the fiscal year.

As proverbial haste makes waste, the budget spent on the development projects at the last moment makes no sense as it compromises on the quality of work.

 Evil practice

We hear or read from time to time that child marriage has taken place in one place or another. And sometimes, those inducing child marriage or indulging in it are reported to have been arrested and legal action initiated against them.

This ritual has been happening for years and decades. But still child marriage is not uncommon in Nepal, particularly in the rural areas of the hills and the Tarai.

But child marriage was made illegal decades ago in the country. In this context, a team of lawmakers has visited Rolpa in order to “help stamp out the practice of child marriage”.

It is right and necessary that the campaign against the evil should be mounted by various quarters and at various levels. The efforts of all should come together to end the evil practice which has economic, social, health, and other implications for those who are forced into child marriage.

The law-enforcement authorities, too, should redouble their efforts to discourage child marriage and act against those who help arrange child marriages.

Our traditional or superstitious beliefs strengthened by our lack of education have helped to continue this practice.