KATHMANDU, August 4: The Postal Highway, one of the national pride projects, is going to miss another deadline of fiscal year 2022/23 as around 35 percent of the construction work is yet to be completed within the targeted deadline of the next two years.
The records of the Postal Highway Directorate show that only 65 percent of the total construction work has been completed so far in over a decade since the inception of the project. The construction of the 1,792 km long Postal Highway was started in 2009/10.
The Directorate’s report shows that an additional 208 km of the road stretch of the highway was blacktopped in the last fiscal year. Of the targeted 15 bridges for construction, only seven were completed during the period. While an additional 200 km road is under construction, the alignment of roads in many locations is yet to be finalised.
According to Project Chief Rohit Kumar Bisural, the problem has been observed mainly in contracting the bridges that fall along the highway.
The highway, also known as Hulaki Marga, extends 975 km from east to west. The project also includes an additional 817 km of roads that will connect all Tarai districts. The road connects 20 districts in the southern Tarai belt. It passes through a number of protected forest areas including Chitwan National Park, Banke National Park and Shuklaphanta National Park.
The national pride project was initiated in the early 1990s. However, it was only in 2004 that Nepal and India signed an agreement to conduct a study to upgrade the road networks linking the Postal Highway. The construction of the Postal Highway was estimated to cost Rs 25 billion. India has pledged to provide Rs 8 billion in grants while the government is investing the rest of the amount.