Budget for road projects halted by FinMin not to stop
December 1, 2021 02:26 PM NPT
By: Himal Lamsal
KATHMANDU, Dec 1: Finance Minister Janardan Sharma in the Substitution Bill had said that plans for 1400 small roads would be put to a halt. But the budget of those schemes will not be stopped.
Finance Minister Sharma had announced in the bill to suspend the implementation of 1400 road projects that have not been studied from economic and technical points of view.
However, the Department of Roads has informed the Ministry of Finance that out of the 1400 road projects, 1000 projects are old projects and cannot be stopped now. In the budget statement made public by the then Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel, the Terai/ Madhes Infrastructure Development Program included 617 road projects.
Under the program, a budget of Rs 1.54 billion was allocated at the rate of Rs 2.4 million per project for road construction. Former Finance Minister Paudel had included 793 road projects under the Road Infrastructure Development Program. He had allocated Rs 1.94 billion for the scheme.
“The replacement bill stipulates that 1,410 road projects worth Rs 2.4 million each will be postponed. But the budget of these projects has not been halted yet,” said Shiva Prasad Nepal, spokesperson for the Department of Roads (DoR). “Out of 1,410 schemes, about 1,000 schemes have been under-construction since last year. The old contracts of these schemes cannot be postponed without modification. Instead, about 400 newly added projects could be postponed.”
The department has suggested the Ministry of Finance transfer the budget of the schemes to the local units. Nepal, who is also the Deputy Director General at DoR, claimed that the road projects which were contracted last year cannot be stopped. "Projects that were already under construction last year cannot be stopped," he said. "The projects introduced in this year's budget can be postponed if the government wants."