SAC orders govt to heed local complaints about fast-track project

Published On: December 15, 2018 08:17 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 15: After holding several rounds of meeting and paying a field visit to the project site of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track to hear the complaints of the locals, the parliament’s State Affairs Committee (SAC) has instructed the authorities to expedite the project through effective coordination among the government agencies involved. 

The committee has also directed the Prime Minister’s Office, Defense Ministry and Home Ministry to address the demands of locals at the earliest. Stating that the committee’s serious attention has been drawn toward the threat posed by the project to the historical and cultural sites, and the fact that the construction has been started without preparing a detailed project report, and the locals were paid insufficient compensation for their land, the committee has instructed the government to resolve the problems through inter-agency coordination.

The committee has also directed the government to complete the project within the set deadline through effective coordination among the agencies involved.

The committee had earlier summoned the defense and home ministers and local development ministry officials and stakeholders for questioning. The committee members had also visited the disputed Khokana and Bungmati area following locals’ complaints that the project posed threat to the historical sites and their way of life.

Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel informed SAC on Thursday that the DPR of the fast-track will be completed within the next two months. 

Most of the lawmakers had demanded a halt to the construction work altogether or halt to the work in the Khokana and Bungmati area until the DPR is prepared. The committee members had also urged the government to increase the compensation for the land acquired for the project. But Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa had told the committee Thursday that legal complications will arise if the compensation amount for the project affected is increased and this will affect other development projects as well.

Meanwhile, the committee barred journalists yet again from entering the meeting venue on Friday. Committee member Prem Suwal informed the journalists that they were compelled to keep the journalist out as per the instruction of committee chair Shashi Shrestha. 

This is the third time that the SAC has barred journalists at the meeting venue. Earlier journalists would be allowed to enter the meeting venue.


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