Chinese side to blame for delay in Kalanki-Bashundhara road expansion: Department of Roads

Published On: May 27, 2024 03:05 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, May 27: The Kalanki-Bashundhara section of the ring road, an 8.2 km stretch, was slated for expansion to eight lanes under an agreement between the Government of Nepal and the Chinese government in 2019. However, five years later, the expansion work remains at a standstill.

Due to the delay in the road expansion, residents of the area face significant difficulties, with dust making travel particularly challenging. The expansion work for the Kalanki-Bashundhara road section has effectively stalled, leaving the project in its initial stages. The Department of Road confirms that no progress has been made.

On Saturday afternoon, Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balendra Shah (Balen) dumped truckloads of dust and garbage in front of the offices of the Road Division and Department of Roads, highlighting the suffering of residents due to the prolonged delay.

In response, the Department of Roads issued a statement on Sunday, clarifying that the delay is not their fault. Ram Hari Pokharel, spokesperson for the Department, stated that they are waiting for the Chinese government to move forward with the project. "We are awaiting an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Chinese government. We are doing our part," Pokharel said.

A senior Department employee estimated that expanding the road segment to eight lanes would cost around Rs 4 billion. “Although the Department is capable of undertaking the project, we are waiting for the decision of the Chinese government," he said.

The Chinese government had initially insisted that the Nepali government clear the site before proceeding. Despite the site being cleared and some monasteries being relocated, the work has not progressed. 

Currently, the Department of Roads is independently constructing service lanes on both sides of the Kalanki-Bashundhara section. However, there is no clear timeline for the main expansion work to resume. Even a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the expansion has not been prepared, delaying any immediate start to the project.

Pokharel mentioned that an exchange letter would soon be signed between Nepal and China to advance the road expansion. An agreement has also been reached to address the deficiencies observed in the Kalanki-Koteshwor road expansion, with some land being left vacant in the middle of the road as part of the new plan.

On Friday, Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah and Narayan Datta Bhandari, head of the Road Division, Kathmandu, discussed the road expansion. The next day, Bhandari expressed his discontent when Mayor Shah suddenly disposed of garbage in front of the Department's office, blaming them for the delay in the Kalanki-Bashundhara road project.


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