The government has prioritised infrastructural development with many new projects of road construction, upgradation and other structures launched and ongoing. The East-West Highway and Muglin-Pokhara Highway are being upgradated to four lanes, and the construction of a flyover at Gwarko in Kathmandu, and a tunnel way in Siddhababa has started.
Similarly, the construction of a signature bridge at Narayangadh bazaar under the Mahendra Highway, and the upgrading of the Muglin-Pokhara road, and Nagdhunga-Naubise-Muglin road have begun, according to Sushil Babu Dhakal, Director General of the Department of Roads. Expansion of the Suryabinayak-Dhulikhel road has been also initiated, said Bhimarjun Adhikari, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. “The construction of the Kakadvitta-Laukahi road and the Kamala-Dhalkebar road will begin soon,” he said. The government has prioritised the construction, upgradation and repair of the country’s highways, he said.
It has a policy of constructing flyovers at crossings in a bid to manage traffic, said the Department. The government has a policy of constructing flyovers, installing traffic lights, and expanding and upgrading roads in the Kathmandu Valley will take place, said Dhakal. The Siddhababa tunnel way aims to facilitate traffic and the mobility of people, said Adhikari. Though the target time for the projects of national pride is drawing nearer, they are highly likely to miss the deadline.
These projects were expected to be completed earlier, but COVID-19 pandemic and other various obstructions delayed the implementations of the project According to Spokesperson Adhikari, the Mid Hill Highway and the Postal Highway will not meeting the deadline as planned and it is necessary to reschedule the target time of the projects. In case of the Mid Hill highway, 42 kilometers of its section has been blacktopped followed by the construction of four bridges while under the Postal Highway, 36 kilometers of highway has been blacktopped along with the construction of seven bridges. Among the North-South Corridor, the Kaligandaki corridor reports the much progress with the blacktopping of roads along 10 kilometers of area with the completions of four bridges. It also reports the construction of a 30-km gravel road.
The Koshi Corridor witnesses the construction of a 15-kilometer gavel road along with the construction of one bridge. A track of 3.5 kilometers has been opened along the Karnali Corridor and the track of 38 kilometers has been widened. Under the Madan Bhandari Highway Construction Project, it reports the construction of road measuring 265 kilometers. In the current fiscal year, additional six kilometers of road was blacktopped. It is said 99, out of 185 bridges along the highway, have been completed. Under Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project three underpasses, four culverts, one overpass, and three bridges have been completed while under the Narayangadh-Butwal road project, 28 small bridges have been completed followed by the construction of three major bridges.
Likewise, seven small bridges have been constructed along the Muglin-Pokhara Road and so far the progress is around 30 percent. He said there are no problems in programmes included in the ‘Red Book’, however, there is problem of budget in other projects. Mainly there is no problem of budget in national pride projects. The progress of the Department should be above 60-65 per cent so far, but the progress is below it, he shared. Before COVID, the progress of the Ministry used to be around 80 percent while the progress of the projects invested by the government of Nepal used to be more than 90 per cent and that of projects run under foreign investment around 80 per cent.
According to him, the progress has become low since the start of coronavirus. The progress was 57 per cent in the last fiscal year 2021/22 and 67 per cent in the fiscal year 2020/21. The Ministry has forwarded activities to formulate necessary laws for the establishment of Transport Authority. Spokesperson Adhikari shared that the draft of the regulations of the Transport Authority has already been prepared and it was sent to the Finance Ministry for consent. It would be sent to the Law Ministry after consent from Finance Ministry before its presentation in the cabinet after receiving consent from the Law Ministry, he added.
According to the Ministry, construction of two-kilometer railway track bed and two railway bridges along east-west electric railway was completed last year. A 54-km track bed was prepared and construction of seven railway bridges has been completed so far, according to the Department of Railways. Director General of the Department, Rohit Kumar Bisural, said construction is underway only at the Bardibas-Nijgadh section.
Out the railways constructed with the support of Indian government, railway from Bathanaha of India to Customs Office of Biratnagar and Jaynagar-Bijulpura have been completed, he added. “Railway service is in operation from Jaynagar to Kurtha”, he mentioned, adding the report of the study of Raxaul-Kathmandu railway is yet to be received. Feasibility study of Kathmandu-Kerung railway is underway.