National

Nepal Army yet to find consultant for DPR

  • Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway
- BINOD GHIMIRE

Sep 4, 2018-

One year since the laying of foundation for the Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway, Nepal Army, the developer of the project, is yet to select the consultant for preparing the detail project report, a prerequisite for building any infrastructure.

The national defence force formally started construction work for the 76 kilometre stretch after then-prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal laid the foundation stone in May 2017. The first government of KP Sharma Oli had, in 2016, entrusted the Army with the undertaking by cancelling the decision of previous governments to award the job to an Indian consortium.

In the 15 months since construction began, the Army has hardly cleared the trees from the track. International bidding for the DPR was announced in February with 17 firms expressing their interest. Six companies from five countries were shortlisted in the first phase. After evaluating their technical and financial proposals, the NA has selected two firms but it is yet to award the contract to one of them.

“We are evaluating detailed technical and financial reports from the two companies. Final selection shouldn’t take long,” Nepal Army Spokesperson Brig Gen Gokul Bhandari told the Post. AF-Consult of Switzerland, JV of Yooshin and Pyunghwa of Korea, Louis Berger Consulting of India, Meinhard Limited and Soosung Engineering Co of China and SMEC International of Japan were the six companies shortlisted. The Army, however, has refused to disclose the names of the two finalists.

Once the consultant is appointed to prepare the DPR, the project office will provide a time period of around four months to complete the study and to present the report to the Army. Hardly three years and nine months to the deadline, no significant work has been done so far.

Currently the Army is carrying out preliminary construction of the road expected to shorten travel from Nijgadh in Bara to the Capital to an hour. The Army is currently clearing trees and acquiring land in the project area. However, it remains undecided whether Khokana or Pharsidol will be its entry point from Kathmandu.

While the Nepal Army has taken charge of the project, domestic or international contractors will be tasked with most of the major works. The Army has no experience of doing technically challenging projects like an expressway although it has opened tracks of over two dozen crucial roads in difficult terrains. The expressway track was also opened by the Army. While local contractors would do soil reinforcing, cutting and filling, and cross drainage works, international contractors are said to work on high bridges and tunnels.

Published: 04-09-2018 07:36

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