State inadequacies impede road works worth Rs 26b

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Dec 4, 2018-

The Department of Roads was supposed to share around 1,100 road projects among the three tiers of government after the country was federated. Only one project has been handed over so far.

These projects, which are together worth nearly Rs26 billion, are currently stalled at different stages of progress after the department instructed its divisional offices to stop the construction works and hand them over to the respective provincial governments. 

 

The department officials say the handover of these projects has been delayed due to the lack of institutional set-up and human resources at the provincial level.

“We have recently handed over the Seti Highway Project to Sudurpaschim Province. The other projects will soon be shared among other provincial governments,” Mukti Gautam, spokesperson at the department, told the Post on Monday.  

The department has set the target of concluding the handover process within the next two weeks.

To this end, Gautam said the department on Sunday issued a notice to its divisional offices, with the instruction to complete the handover at the earliest.

Initially, the department was supposed to hand over the projects after their completion. But, after the federal government allocated the budget for these projects to the concerned provincial governments, the department has been left with no choice than to make the handover.

Officials say the provincial governments are not ready to take over the projects even after budget allocation, because they have yet to form the necessary institutions and arrange human resources.

“It has been just three months since we set up the office to look after the infrastructure projects and another office to look after the urban development projects has just been set up. We still lack the required human resource to run these offices and oversee the road projects,” said Indradev Bhatta, secretary at the Physical Infrastructure Development Ministry of Sudurpaschim Province.

To deal with the issue of human resource crunch, the department has recommended the provincial governments to work with its divisional offices to complete the road projects.

 “The provincial governments can provide financial resources to the divisional road offices to implement them,” said Gautam.

According to officials at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure, some provinces are reluctant to take over the projects due to lack of adequate budget in the projects. Around Rs7 billion has been allocated for these projects in the current fiscal year, according to the ministry.

The department officials say that additional Rs10 billion will be required to complete the targeted works this fiscal year.

Rajendra Raj Sharma, spokesperson at the Ministry of Finance, said budget will not be an issue as the ministry has assured to provide the required budget to the projects.

Published: 04-12-2018 07:22

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