Ministers summoned to explain delay in national pride projects

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Oct 11, 2014-The Parliamentary Development Committee has summoned Tourism Minister Deepak Chandra Amatya, Minister for Physical Planning, Infrastructure and Transportation Bimalendra Nidhi, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and Vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Govinda Raj Pokharel to enquire into the delay in the development of two national pride projects--Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track and an international airport in Nijgadh.  

They have been asked to appear at the committee’s office on Sunday to explain what is delaying these two projects, said Rabindra Adhikari, the committee’s chairperson.

According to Adhikari, over Rs 500 million allocated for the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track went unspent last fiscal year and not much progress has been seen this fiscal year as well.

The government had prioritised the 76 km Fast Track project with an aim to establish a direct high-speed link between Kathmandu and other major cities in the Tarai region. But the proposed expressway has been struggling to attract investors.

With its earlier failed attempt at attracting investors, the government has decided to give build, operate and transfer (BOT) model a second try to develop the project. Two weeks ago, the  Physical Planning Ministry had called for expression of interest (EoI) from international investors by introducing the criteria with the assurance of a guaranteed minimum revenue generation and the government’s 20 percent stake in the project. The bidders involving Nepali contractors as equity partners would be given preference.

The project involves survey, design, engineering, financing, procurement, construction, operation, maintenance and transfer of the approximately 76km Kathmandu-Nijgadh expressway and 18 km additional two-lane expressway on the existing two-lane road (making a four-lane expressway) of the Nijgadh to Pathlaiya section of the East West Highway.

The proposed international airport in Nijgadh project has also not made any progress after the detailed feasibility study was conducted by Korea’s Landmark Worldwide. The study cost the government USD 3.35 million. Although the company submitted its study report to the Tourism Ministry in April 2011, the project has not advanced any further than that.  The report is gatheirng dust at the National Planning Commission.

Published: 12-10-2014 04:08

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