Parliament panel order: Expedite construction work

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Parliament panel order: Expedite construction work

Oct 12, 2014-The Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has instructed concerned authorities to expedite construction works of two national priority projects--Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track and Second International Airport (SIA) in Nijgadh Bara--without further delay.

After consulting with the authorities concerned, the parliamentary committee asked the government to initiate the construction work on the project by managing its own internal sources if international developers could not be convinced.  

“I ask the concerned authorities to initiate the construction of fast track project at the earliest and the government should do it even by managing the internal resources,” said the Committee Chairperson Rabindra Adhilari adding, “In case of SIA it is essential to resolve procedural difficulties and identify resources for the construction.”

Tourism Minister Deepak Chandra Amatya, Minister for Physical Planning, Infrastructure and Transportation Bimalendra Nidhi, Vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Govinda Raj Pokharel and representatives from Finance Ministry were summoned before the committee following the delay in construction of the projects.

Expressing disappointment at the sluggish progress, the committee also instructed the ministries concerned to submit the progress report to the committee on monthly basis.

In Sunday’s meeting, Physical Planning Minister Nidhi said his ministry has already called expression of interest (EoI) from interested firms and a contractor will be selected by January 14. “If we fail to award the contract to any international contractor within the set work schedule, the government can take a lead for the construction,” said Minister Nidhi.

Over Rs 500 million allocated for the Fast Track project remained unused last fiscal year, and not much progress has been seen this fiscal year as well.

After the earlier efforts failed to attract much interest from investors, the government has sought to give build, operate and transfer (BOT) model a second shot to develop the project. Two weeks ago, the Physical Planning Ministry called EoI from interested international investors by sweetening the criteria with assurance of a minimum revenue guarantee and the government’s 20 percent stake in the project. The term for submitting EoI expired on Sunday.

The government sweetened the deal as previous bidders abandoned the project seeing scant chances of being able to make much money from it. In order to guarantee the minimum vehicle movement, the government has assured if the traffic is less than expected, the developer will be compensated based on the toll fee determined in consensus with the government. And, if vehicular movement is greater than the fixed level, the developer would have to share the income from additional vehicular movement on a 50:50 basis.

The government’s EoI notice asked applicants to submit their applications before October 11. As per the notice, only applicants having past experience in building highways, tunnels and bridges costing more than $1 billion on BOT basis over the past 10 years and a net worth of $150 million or more jointly or severally are eligible to apply. The government said 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 76-km Kathmandu-Nijgadh Expressway and an 18-km additional two-lane expressway on the existing road, making the Nijgadh to Pathlaiya section of the East West Highway a four-lane expressway.

The progress on the SIA is much worse, as nothing substantial has happened since the submission of the Detailed Feasibility Report to the Tourism Ministry in April 2011 by Korea’s Landmark Worldwide (LMW). The report has been stuck at the high-level BOOT committee of the National Planning Commission. The DPR was conducted at a cost of $3.55 million.

Then Tourism Minister Bhim Acharya had ordered to form a committee to develop the SIA and Tribhuwan International Airport under public private partnership model, two days before his removal from the post.

Published: 13-10-2014 08:58

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