Korean firm wins bid to make expressway DPR

  • Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway
- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Sep 20, 2018-

The Nepal Army has appointed a Korean company to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the Kathmandu-Tarai expressway, nearly 16 months after laying the foundation stone for the highly touted project.

Soosung Engineering Company won the contract among 17 international firms following a technical and financial evaluation of their bids, the army said.

International bidding for the DPR was announced in February. Six companies from five countries were shortlisted in the first phase. Along with Soosung, AF-Consult of Switzerland, a joint venture of Yooshin and Pyunghwa of Korea, Louis Berger Consulting of India, Meinhard Limited of China and SMEC International of Japan made it to the shortlist.

Major General Yogendra Khand, chief of the project, told the Post that a letter of intent had been issued to the company following the selection. A team from Soosung will be arriving in Kathmandu by the end of September to sign the contract.

“The company will get four months to prepare the DPR from the date the contract is signed,” he said. According to Soosung’s official website, the company has constructed many expressways in Korea including the famous Seoul-Busan Expressway.

The army invited international bids after negotiations to acquire the DPR prepared by an Indian consortium fell apart due to disagreement over the price. The consortium, consisting of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Transportation Networks, IL&FS Engineering and Construction and Suryavir Infrastructure Construction, had asked for around Rs610 million, Nepal Army sources said.

Soosung has agreed to prepare the DPR for around Rs101.5 million. Khand said the consortium of Indian companies had quoted an extremely high price which they couldn’t afford. Explaining the reason behind the delay in selecting a company to prepare the DPR, Khand said, “First, negotiations with the Indian consortium took time. Second, selecting international firms as per the procurement process is time consuming too.”

The Nepal Army formally started construction work on the 76-km expressway in May 2017 after the then prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal laid the foundation stone.

In 2016, during the first term of the KP Sharma Oli administration, it assigned the Nepal Army to implement the project after cancelling the previous government’s decision to award the job to the Indian consortium.

Currently, the Nepal Army is carrying out preliminary construction work on the highway expected to shorten travel time between Kathmandu and Nijgadh, Bara to an hour. It is currently clearing trees, leveling the track and acquiring land in the project area. No decision has been made on whether Khokana or Pharsidol will be the starting point of the expressway in Kathmandu.

The Nepal Army is in charge of the project, but domestic or international contractors will be assigned to execute most of the major works. The Army has no experience in conducting technically challenging projects like expressways although it has opened the tracks of more than two dozen crucial roads over difficult terrain. The track of the expressway was also opened by the Army.

While local contractors will perform soil reinforcing, cutting and filling, and cross drainage works, international contractors will work on high bridges and tunnels.

Published: 20-09-2018 08:52

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