KATHMANDU, May 29: While announcing a slew of measures to enhance its implementation capacity, the government has allocated funds for various ongoing and new infrastructure projects including international airports, fast track, and Melamchi Drinking Water Project in the new budget.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that the finance ministry changed the system of sanctioning the budget, keeping in view the delay caused by it. Secretaries of the ministries concerned have been authorized to revise certain programs of the ongoing projects, if deemed necessary, till mid-April, while making sure that such amendments do not affect the overall objectives of the given project.
According to Minister Mahara, government employees working in infrastructure projects shall be provided with orientations on various aspects of the projects including their technical aspect, implementation method, expected outcomes and achievements and inter-agency coordination among government bodies right from the beginning of the fiscal year. Likewise, environmental impact assessment and Initial Environmental Evaluation shall be conducted within minimum timeframe to ensure smooth implementation of the infrastructure projects.
The budget has also announced to introduce a system to invite tender of infrastructure related project within the first month of new fiscal year and award tender and reach agreement with the contracting party within three months of the start of the new fiscal year to ensure smooth implementation of the project. While adopting a reward and punishment system, the budget has also announced to provide both monetary and non-monetary incentives to the government officials facilitating completion of project within the given deadline.
Among other things, the new budget proposes to discourage the practice of single contractor taking the responsibility of constructing a number of different infrastructure projects beyond its actual capacity.
Highlights of budget allocated to various infrastructure projects
Rs 13.72 billion for three international airports
The government has allocated Rs 13.73 billion to expedite the construction of three new international airports.
Finance Minister Mahara announced the budget to expedite the construction of Nijgadh International Airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara International Airport in the new budget for fiscal year 2017/18. The construction of these new airports has already begun.
Rs 10.14 billion for fast track
The government has allocated Rs 10.14 billion to expedite the construction of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track (Express Way) this fiscal year.
The 76-kilometer long fast track connects Kathmandu with Nijgadh in Bara district in the southern plains. The government has already handed over the responsibility of constructing the mega project to Nepal Army.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal inaugurated the Fast Track on Sunday, amidst a special function organized in Bara district.
Rs 6.57 billion for Melamchi Drinking Water Project
The government has allocated a budget of Rs 6.57 billion for expediting the ongoing construction of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project.
The completion of Melamchi project is expected to address the demand of drinking water of Kathmandu Valley. The government has announced to supply Melamchi water within this fiscal year.
Separately, the government has allocated a budget of Rs 27.41 billion for the development of irrigation facilities.
Koteshwor-Suryabinayak Tunnel Way
The new budget has allocated budget to construct a tunnel way between Koteshwar and Suryabinayak with priority.
Minister Mahara said the construction of the tunnel way would largely help address the traffic congestion on the way to Tribhuvan International Airport. The budget has also allocated funds for expanding the runway and taxi space in the airport.
However, the budget has not mentioned any specific amount to execute the project.
Separately, the government has allocated Rs 5.54 billion for the construction of Thankot-Naubise tunnel way.
Rs 4.27 billion for Postal Highway (first phase)
The budget has allocated Rs 4.27 billion for the first phase construction of the Postal Highway which connects major cities in Tarai-Madhes districts across Nepal-India border in the south.
Although the construction responsibility was initially given to the Indian government, Nepal decided to construct the highway on its own after inordinate delay on the part of India. The budget allocated this fiscal year will be utilized to construct the first phase of the highway.
Rs 10.17 billion for Budhi Gandaki, Rs 500 million for Upper
The government has allocated Rs 10.17 billion for the construction of the ongoing 1200-MW Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project this fiscal year. Likewise, Rs 500 million has been allocated for the Upper Tamakoshi project that is expected to be completed within this fiscal year.
Separately, the budget has allocated Rs 5.16 billion for the construction of Sikta-Rani Jamara- Bheri Babai irrigation project.