Print Edition - 2015-02-10 | MONEY
High-level mechanism to rescue stressed projects
- National pride projects
Feb 9, 2015-A high-level mechanism has been formed to clear obstacles that may crop up during the implementation of national pride projects and other priority projects, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Monday.
The powerful body is headed by the finance minister and consists of representatives of various ministers, namely the home minister, physical infrastructure and transport minister, forest minister, local development minister, industry minister, science, technology and environment minister and the minister concerned with the project in difficulty.
Likewise, the vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) and the chief secretary of the government will also sit on the committee while the PMO secretary in charge of economic issues and infrastructure has been named member secretary.
PMO Secretary Shanta Raj Subedi said that the mechanism needed to be formed since vital projects were constantly running into problems related to resource mobilization, compensation for land acquisition, resource availability, coordination among government agencies and non-cooperation by government agencies.
“The high-level mechanism will ensure that national pride projects and first priority projects do not face shortages of resources,” he added.
According to Subedi, the committee will meet at least once a month and deal with the problems reported by the projects. The concerned agency is required to provide the details about the problem and the efforts made to settle it while reporting to the panel.
Almost every national pride project has been bogged down in varied difficulties despite being accorded the highest priority by the government. Most of their troubles are related to land acquisition, delays in cutting down trees in forest areas, shortage of construction materials, poor monitoring of the performance of contractors and lack of technical manpower.
Among the 15 national pride projects that submitted their progress reports to the PMO recently, there were few that did not report time overruns due to one difficulty or the other.
Among them, only Gautam Buddha Regional International Airport being built in Bhairahawa and Pokhara Regional International Airport being built in Pokhara have reported 100 percent progress. Notwithstanding the impressive progress report, the Pokhara airport project has been engulfed in difficulties over land acquisition.
Meanwhile, the Melamchi Water Supply Project has stated in its progress report that the contractor has failed to carry out the construction work as per the target.
Likewise, three north-south highway projects have been hampered by lack of technical manpower with the Karnali North-South Highway also facing land acquisition problems. The Postal Highway project, which has submitted one of the worst progress reports, has ground to a halt after its Indian contractors fled.
A total of 21 national pride projects are currently being implemented in the country. They have been allocated a budget of Rs 25 billion for this fiscal year.
Published: 10-02-2015 07:25