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Only 51pc strategic road network paved

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 19, 2015-Almost half of Nepal’s strategic road network (SRN) is yet to be paved. According to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, 51 percent of the total 12,491km SRN has been paved until last fiscal year. National highways and feeder roads are considered SRN.

Of the total SRN length, 36 percent is earthen and 13 percent gravel. The ministry has said the poor status of the SRN is one of the major challenges to be addressed in the road sector.

“The poor status of the SRN has minimised the potential of fast travel and has also been a cause of accidents,” said Devendra Karki, joint secretary at the ministry. “Due to the lack of adequate resources, all the SRN could not be upgraded.”

The SRN also suffered huge damage due to the April 25 earthquake. The SRN alone witnessed a damage of Rs5.11 billion, according to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). According to the report, the SRN requires Rs9 billion, while the overall transport sector needs Rs28 billion for recovery.

The government has allocated Rs54 billion through the budget for this fiscal year for the road sector, under which 170 bridges would be completed, track opening of 1942km road would be done and 795km road would be blacktopped.

Meanwhile, the ministry said many local roads constructed without proper engineering designs have proven difficult to upgrade. “Premature damage due to rains has resulted in underutilisation of the roads,” said the Ministry, adding transport syndicate has emerged as a big constraint to achieving higher traffic growth.

Meanwhile, the ministry has said the plan to connect two district headquarters with road is a challenging task. District headquarters of Dolpa and Humla are yet to be connected with roads.

According to Karki, Dolpa’s headquarters of Dunai is expected to be connected by road in the next fiscal year, while connection with Simikot, headquarters of Humla, is still a few years away.

Published: 19-09-2015 10:05

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