PM’s India visit: Fast Track ‘not on agenda’

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Sep 4, 2016-

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is set to embark on a visit to India from September 15, is not likely to include some projects, including the Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track, that have been highly debated at home, according to sources. 

The Fast Track, one of the most ambitious projects linking the Capital with the Tarai, has become a “controversial topic” with political parties sharply divided over who should construct it. The erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government had announced that Nepal would construct the Fast Track on its own. 

According to PM Dahal’s Principal Political Advisor Chakrapani Khanal, though the agenda for PM Dahal’s India visit is yet to be finalised, “controversial issues like the Fast Track will not be on the agenda”. “The government has already allocated certain budget for the project, so there is no question of handing it over to foreigners to construct it,” said Khanal. “In addition, the PM has been saying that Nepal will construct the Fast Track on its own.”

On Monday, during a meeting with a delegation of Rastriya Sarokar Abhiyan Nepal, PM Dahal had said that the idea of constructing the Fast Track by Nepal was initially floated by him when he was the chairman of a high-level coordination committee during the previous government’s tenure.

Ramesh Malla, personal secretary of PM Dahal, also said that the prime minister “will not include any controversial projects” on his agenda during his India visit.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, a senior NC leader, is said to be pushing the government for awarding the contract to construct the Fast Track to India. 

On the other hand, a government support committee formed by the CPN (Maoist Centre) is learnt to have warned PM Dahal against discussing any controversial projects during his India visit. 

Maoist leader Dev Gurung said leaders had warned Dahal against awarding three major projects to India for construction and 

Kathmandu-Nijgadh Fast Track was one of them.

Published: 04-09-2016 21:13

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