Only 7 national pride projects minimum 50 pc complete

Published On: October 13, 2018 06:05 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Oct 13: Only seven out of the 21 national pride projects have achieved 50 percent or more progress although their completion deadlines are inching closer.

The completion deadline of one project has already been exceeded and the extended deadlines of most of the other projects expire in two or three years.

Melamchi Drinking Water Project, which was started 17 years ago, accomplished 83.71 percent of its overall work in August, according to a report submitted by the National Planning Commission to Prime Minister K P Oli last month.

The fourth-time extended deadline of the project expired in September last year but 16 percent of the work is yet to be completed, according to the report which was tabled at the National Concerns and Coordination Committee of the upper house of parliament last week.

The total cost of the dream project, which is expected to meet the drinking water needs of the capital city, is estimated at Rs 35.5 billion.

According to the report, the 456 megawatt Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project is on the verge of completion within this fiscal year. The Rs 41.72 billion projects completed 96.4 percent of its overall work in eight years. Its extended deadline for completion is within this fiscal year.

Two other national pride projects which have completed over 80 percent of their work are the management and protection of the Chure area and turning Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, into an international center of the Buddhist community and of peace. These two projects don't have any completion deadline, given the long-term nature of the work involved.

Among the other infrastructure development projects, Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairawa and the Sikta and Babai Irrigation Projects have completed over 50 percent of their work, according to the integrated report on all 21 national pride projects.

The three north-south highways including the Karnali, Koshi and Kaligandaki corridors, which were started a decade ago, are lagging far behind their completion deadlines. The West Seti hydropower project (750 MW) is yet to get started as the Chinese contractor pulled out. Likewise, the Budhigandaki hydropower project (1,200 MW) is just 9.9 percent complete after six years, due to instability in political decisions over the contracts.

Among other national pride projects, only 25 percent of the work has been completed on the postal highway while 45 percent of work has been done on the Pushpa Lal (mid-hill) highway.

The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and the Energy Ministry have been overseeing seven national pride projects each while the Tourism Ministry has been overseeing three, and the Drinking Water and Forest Ministries one each.

The Kathmandu-Tarai fast track project has not submitted its physical progress report to the parliamentary committee so far.

Progress in financial management at most of the pride projects is above 70 percent, except of the Pokhara International Airport and Nijghad International Airport projects. These have made 30 percent and 7.31 percent financial management progress respectively, according to the National Planning Commission.

Similarly, the Melamchi Drinking Water Project and Pashupati Area Development Project have made 43 and 51 percent financial progress.

Chairperson of the National Concerns and Coordination Committee Dil Kumari Rawal said negligence by contractors, lack of coordination among government agencies, political disputes and non-cooperation from locals are major hurdles to the national projects.

“The parliamentary panel plans to audit the progress of all national pride projects after making field inspections,” said Rawal.

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