Govt told to award contract this FY

  • kathmandu-tarai fast track project
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 1, 2017-The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday directed the government to conclude the bidding process and award the construction contract for the Kathmandu-Tarai expressway by this fiscal year which ends mid-July. 

The House panel told the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to prepare a timetable to complete the project by 2020-21. It has also decided to instruct the Finance Ministry to arrange the necessary resources as the government will be building the project on its own. 

The much-touted 76-km expressway will link the Capital with Nijgadh in the southern plains and cut travel time to less than an hour. 

Due to recurring controversies and delays, the project’s original cost estimate of Rs56 billion has doubled to Rs112 billion in seven years, which means the price tag has been swelling by Rs8 billion annually after adjusting for inflation. “As the project’s estimated cost has been increasing each year, the government should ensure quality and optimal utilization of resources while developing the project,” said PAC Chairman Dor Prasad Upadhyaya. “A project of national importance cannot be delayed any longer.” 

The Physical Infrastructure Ministry will be buying the highway’s detailed project report (DPR) prepared by an Indian consortium, and lawmakers said that the issue should be sorted out as soon as possible. 

Last week, officials of the Physical Infrastructure Ministry informed PAC that the government was ‘most likely’ to build the expressway under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model to save time and money. They said the project would reject the build own operate transfer (BOOT) model proposed earlier as the government would be bankrolling it.

The DPR prepared by the Indian consortium will be used as a ‘reference document’ to call for bids under the EPC model. The report will be used as a bill of quantities (BOQ), a document usually used in tendering in construction projects. 

Once the contract for the project is awarded, the contractor will prepare a detailed engineering report which will ascertain the real cost. The pricing becomes more precise, according to ministry officials. 

“Various controversies have bogged down the project. So the government should prepare a clear-cut timetable,” said lawmaker Dhan Raj Gurung. 

Lawmaker Yogendra Ghising Tamang said that an amicable solution should be found to resolve the issue related to land compensation in Khokana, Lalitpur. “The demand of the residents should be fulfilled.” 

Locals of Khokana have been opposing the government’s plan to acquire their land because of the nominal compensation they have been offered. 

Published: 01-03-2017 09:17

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