Govt extends deadline of Kathmandu-Terai/Madhesh Fast Track construction by another four years

Published On: April 21, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

This is the third time that a new deadline has been fixed, due to pretty low progress of the national pride project

KATHMANDU, April 21: The government has extended the deadline for the construction of the Kathmandu-Terai/Madhesh Fast Track by another four years, after the project witnessed only one-fourth work progress even in the second time extended deadline.

The government handed over the construction of the national pride project to Nepal Army on May 4, 2017. As per the agreement, the contractor was given a deadline of four years to complete the project construction. In September 2022, the new deadline was set for November 2024.

According to the project, hardly one-fourth of the construction work has been completed in the past six years. Due to the delay, the cost has also surged by a notable amount over the period.

Unveiling the decision of the Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma informed the new move of the government. In the new timeline, the government has extended the deadline to April 2027, according to Sharma.

Initially, the project was estimated to be built at a total cost of Rs 175 billion. Due to delay, the cost has been revised to more than Rs 214 billion.

The project had faced several glitches since it was taken for construction. For a long time, the authority remained indecisive on Khokana of Lalitpur due to the unsolved controversy at the local level.

Later on, Nepal Army landed in a controversy after it contracted China State Construction Engineering Corp Ltd and Poly Changda Engineering Co Ltd for the construction of three tunnels and a few bridges, among others. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on April 1, 2021, directed the Nepal Army to stop the contract process, claiming that it did not maintain transparency in the process of handing over the contract.

The 72.5 km expressway, which will be the shortest route between Kathmandu and the Terai, comprises 55.5 km of road, three tunnels with a combined length of 6.41 km, and several bridges measuring a total of 10.59 km.

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