KATHMANDU, March 20: The government has built 94 bridges in the current fiscal year 2018/19 so far.
The Department of Roads (DoR) under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has already built nearly 94 bridges which were under construction along national highways and local roads in the current fiscal year.
Organizing a press meet on Tuesday, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth said that the ministry has expedited construction of remaining bridges. The ministry has set a target of building 100 bridges in FY2018/19.
Motorable suspension bridge in Dudhkoshi River (120 meters), Laamo Ratu River Bridge (125 meters) along the Mahendra Highway, Marin River (400 meters), Kamala Bridge (500 meters) and Bheri Bridge (350 meters) were some of the notable bridges completed in the current fiscal year, according to Mahaseth.
“The progress bridge construction shows that the there has been a remarkable reform in public construction and contract management,” Minister Mahaseth, addressing a press meet organized to make public the achievements that the ministry has made in his first year in office.
Over the past year, the government has black-topped 747 kilometers of new and upgraded roads, including 70-kilometer road section of Mid-hills Highway, 12 kilometers of Madan Bhandari Highway and 32-kilometer Narayanghat-Mugling Road, according to Minister Mahaseth.
He has also kept construction of 1,118 kilometers gravel roads, track opening work of 721 kilometers, including roads that connect north and south parts of the country and other roads, as major achievements of the ministry.
He also said that 95 percent of work related to land acquisition and cutting of trees for construction of 76.2-kilometer Kathmandu-Terai/Madhesh Fast Track has been completed.
While Mahaseth has claimed ‘significant’ achievements in the past year, the ministry, one of the top receivers of capital budget, has been very slow in making capital expenditure. The data shows that the ministry has spent only 38 percent of the total capital budget allocated to it.
Minister Mahaseth, however, blamed confusions over jurisdiction in transition to federalism and delay in the adjustment of government staffs to slow progress in development spending.
Amid widespread complaints over persistent delays in construction of Kalanki-Nagdhunga road, Minister Mahaseth claimed that the black-topping of the road will be completed by mid-May. He also said that the black-topping of Chabhil-Jorpati-Sankhu will be completed by mid-June.
Toward railways, Minister Mahaseth said that 945-km (1,056-kilometer including links) Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway’s detailed project report has been completed. He also added that the government has already acquired 20 hectares of land to build a five-kilometer stretch of Bardibas-Nijgadh section of the Mechi-Mahakali Railway.