KATHMANDU, June 25: The Development and Technology Committee of parliament has directed the government to endorse detailed project report (DPR) of Kathmandu-Tarai Madhes Fast Track Project on time.
The meeting of the house committee held on Monday took the decision.
The Ministry of Defence had forwarded the DPR prepared by South Korean firm Soosung Engineering and Consulting Company to the cabinet for approval on March 26. However, the cabinet has yet to taken any decision on the DPR so far.
The government had handed over the responsibility of building the 76-kilometer expressway to Nepal Army two years ago. Before the army was given the responsibility, Indian firm IL & FS had prepared the DPR of the mega infrastructure project. IL & FS had offered to provide the DPR to the army, setting a price tag of Rs 610 million. However, the army turned down the offer terming it 'too expensive'. Later, it had roped in the South Korean firm to prepare DPR of the national pride project.
Some three months ago, the army decided to pay the South Korea firm Rs 100 million for the DPR. Following the decision, the ministry had forwarded the DPR to the cabinet for approval.
Stating that the fast track project will be delayed if the DPR is not approved in time, parliamentarians have asked the government to endorse it without further ado. Speaking in parliament on Monday, lawmaker Jeep Tshering Lama said it won't be possible the mega project within the stipulated time of four years if there is any delay in approval of the DPR.
Another lawmaker Ram Bahadur Bista said failure to complete the project on time could tarnish the image of the army.
Committee chair Kalyani Kumar Khadka said that the government should either approve the DPR or ask the army to revise it DPR if any changes is needed be made. "The committee also directs the Nepal Army to prepare a work plan for completing the project within the stipulated timeframe without comprising on the quality of work," she added.According to the army, the works being carried out by is aligned with the DPR prepared with the South Korean firm. It, however, added that the DPR must be approved as the South Korean firm has proposed to build more bridges and tunnels in the 18-kilometer section.
The army is overseeing earth works in remaining 54 kilometers of the project.
As per the DPR prepared by Soosung Engineering and Consulting Company, the length of the expressway can be reduced to 72 kilometers by building bridges and tunnels.
An official of the Nepal Army, the project cannot be completed within the stipulated four years if the DPR is not approved immediately. Colonel Sharadlal Shrestha, the chief technician of the project, said that the project has achieved about 10 percent financial progress.