CHITWAN, Sept 21: With just one-fourth of the work done in the last 16 months, the completion Narayanghat-Mugling road expansion is unlikely to be done within the deadline of September 2017.
"Had the work gone smoothly, at least 50 percent of the work would have been completed by now. We revised the progress plan and set the objective of completing 35 percent of the works,” said Shiva Khanal, information officer of the project. “But that much progress still has not been met,” he added.
Expansion of 36 kilometers road section was divided into three segments. The government had handed over the contracts to three different contractors for each segment.
The vital road section that connects the capital city with the eastern and western parts of the country has not achieved much progress. The sluggish pace of construction has deeply worried commuters. Only about 22.85 percent of the construction work had been completed by the end of last fiscal year. After that, only an additional four percent has been completed.
As per the contract signed in April 2015, the construction was supposed to complete by 24 months. However, the deadline was extended by five more months till September 2017. But, not even half the works have been completed even after a year has already passed.
“Last year, the progress was hindered by the earthquakes, Indian blockade and lack of fuel. We also have not been able to progress much after the monsoon started this year. That is the main reason for our delay,” added Khanal, who also works as an engineer for the project.
The Narayanghat-Mugling road section will be widened to a two-lane road that meets criteria for Asian standards. Successful completion of the road is expected to boost Nepal's trade relation with India and also ease road transportation between the two countries. The construction had begun with funding of about Rs 3 billion from Asian Development Bank. As many as 611 workers are involved in the construction work on a daily basis, according to the project office.
Information Officer Khanal also said that attempts are being made to prevent traffic snarls during Dashain festival. “As traffic increases during Dashain, we are working on how we can prevent or decrease traffic snarls. We'll coordinate with police personnel and work together managing traffic effectively during the time,” he added.