General

Army to have own DPR for expressway

  • Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Nepal Army says the detailed project report prepared by an Indian consultant was incomplete

Jan 17, 2018-Nepal Army, the government appointed developer of the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track, has decided against purchasing the highway’s detailed project report prepared by an Indian consultant.

Instead, the Army has reached a decision to prepare a new DPR to develop the 76km expressway that will link Kathmandu with Nijgadh in the Tarai.

The Army, at a press conference on Tuesday, said the DPR prepared by the Indian consultant was incomplete, expressing the need for a new DPR to undertake the project.

“We reviewed the DPR prepared by the IL&FS and also sought recommendation from a team of experts,” said Brig Gen Surya Prasad Khanal, the Army-appointed deputy chief of the road project. “Now we’ll prepare a DPR with the help of national and international consultants.”

The move is likely to delay the construction of the much hyped project although the Army has claimed that construction will not be pushed back. The Army claims that it has enough works for a year while the DPR is prepared.

“We have initiated construction of the project based on the feasibility study conducted by the Asian Development Bank,” said Khanal. “We’ll develop the DPR based on the same study.”

The Army said it has started construction of the expressway by cutting down and clearing trees that come under a 7km stretch at Nijgadh. “After a couple of weeks, we’ll start felling trees for the section of highway that lies in Makwanpur district.”

The Army is also in the final stage of awarding contracts for jobs like earth cutting and filling and construction of cross drainage structures for a 54km stretch. In a bid to facilitate works, the Army has set up base camps at five locations, with plans to establish five more.

On May 4, the government formally handed over the project’s responsibility to the Army, giving it four years to build the expressway.

The project got into a controversy after the Sushil Koirala-led government assigned the Indian consortium to carry out a feasibility study. As the then government was making preparations to award the project to the Indian consortium, questions were raised over the intention of the Koirala government after it decided to provide an annual minimum revenue guarantee of Rs15 billion if the road toll failed to generate adequate profit.

The controversy prompted the government to scrap all the agreements reached with the Indian firm. Subsequently, the KP Oli administration decided to construct it with domestic resources.

The proposed Kathmandu-Tarai expressway will vastly improve connectivity and enhance efficiency and safety of road transport between the Capital and the plains. It will cut journey time from more than 5 hours to 1 hour.

Published: 17-01-2018 08:03

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