Kathmandu: The Nepali Army has been entrusted with the responsibility for the construction of prioritized road projects including the national pride projects in geographically challenging areas.
The Army has got the responsibility to construct different road section of Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhesh Fast Track, Karnali corridor, Mahakali corridor and Koshi corridor and construction of these projects has been speed up. There is pressure to complete all prioritized projects soon. Of them, the national-pride project–Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhesh fast-track is the most important project, the shortest route to connect Tarai with Kathmandu.
But the project has not been able to make expected progress in this project. Joint Secretary at the Defense Ministry, Baburam Adhikari, said that the procurement process has been halted due to problems seen in course of the land acquisition of Khokana.
During the meeting of the Defence ministry-level development problems-solving committee held on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba paid more concern to the construction of the fast-track.
Prime Minister Deuba had drawn the attention of the bodies concerned with the need of completing the construction of the expressway at the earliest.
Defence Secretary Kiran Raj Sharma shared that 61.97 percent of the capital and 65.05 percent of physical progress was achieved in the fiscal year 2021/22 while analyzing the integrated form of the Ministry and subordinate bodies.
In course of the implementation of the Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhesh Fast Track, the land acquisition issue at Khokana has become complicated thus affecting the project. Likewise, the physical infrastructure construction program of the National Defence University could not be endorsed as a multi-year project.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the expected progress remained unmet as the budget allocated for arms and equipment procurement went unspent due to increasing pressure on the forex reserve.
In the meeting, Chief of Army Staff, Prabhu Ram Sharma said however efforts continued to complete the assigned projects within the deadline.
Lack of approach roads, excessive cold, vulnerable zones, and topological issues have posed challenges in the implementation of some projects, according to the army chief.
He expressed his doubts over the timely completion of the Karnali Corridor as the construction team has to deal with a giant rock during its implementation. It is said the progress in regard to the projects handled by the NA is so far positive.
The physical progress in regard to the Kathmandu-Tarai-Madhesh Fast Track is 21.18 percent followed by 19.58 percent financial progress. The implementation of the project goes in various 11 packages and each package reports different progress rates.
Its detailed project report was endorsed on August 18, 2019, and the 72.5-kilometer project shares a tunnel at three locations and the total length of the structures is 6.41 kilometers.
The total cost of the project is Rs 175 billion. In the current fiscal year, Rs 30 billion has been allocated for it and the take-off point of the project starts from Khorana of Lalitpur and ends at Nijgadh of Bara. It requires acquiring a total of 5,172 ropani (one ropani is equivalent to 508.72 square meters) of land so compensation for 4,745 ropani of land has been distributed.
As per a decision of the Council of Ministers made in mid-October last year, the Nepali Army has been given the responsibility of constructing the seven kilometers section from Lalibagar to Dullikuna and the 13 kilometers section from Badrigaon to Bhukka Khola, Ghatpari along the Karnali river. The Army has been assigned the responsibility of constructing a total of 22 kilometers of the Karnali Corridor highway.
The financial progress of the road construction works assigned to the Army in the fiscal year 2021/22 is reported to be 89.72 and the physical progress is 100 percent.
The Nepali Army has got the responsibility for constructing 10.51 kilometers section of the Koshi Corridor highway from Khandbari-Kimathanka. The Army started construction of this highway on February 6, 2021. Its responsibility was to open three kilometers track last year. The financial progress of this project is 85.35 percent and the physical progress is 100 percent.
It is said transportation of the construction materials and equipment has been difficult as the flood in the Barun Khola in the region washed away the culvert. The Army was given the responsibility of constructing 92 kilometers of road under the Koshi Corridor highway.
Benighat Arughat Larke Bhanjyang road
The Army has constructed 32.5 kilometers of road and three camps under the Benighat Arughat Larke Bhanjyang road until the fiscal year 2021/22. Out of this length, 18 kilometers of road has already been handed over to the Department of Roads. The Army was given the responsibility of constructing this road in 2016.
The fiscal progress of this road is 87.39 and the physical progress is 100 percent for the current fiscal year. It is said problem has been faced as the report of environmental impact assessment of the Manaslu area has not been received yet.
The Army has been assigned the responsibility of constructing 79 kilometers of the Mahakali Corridor highway. The Army got the responsibility of constructing 75 kilometers road from the Kothedhar-Tinkar section as per the decision of the Council of Ministers on January 31, 2022, and of building four kilometers section of the road from Tusharpani to Kothedhar as per a Cabinet decision on January 31, 2022.
It is stated that the fiscal progress of the Darchula-Tinkar road is 91.54 percent and physical progress 99 percent. (Narayan Dhungana/RSS)