Almost half of national pride projects fail to meet targetAlmost half of the projects of strategic importance for nation’s development failed to meet 50 percent of the performance target in the last fiscal year, signalling tepid pace at which development works are moving ahead.
Almost half of the projects of strategic importance for nation’s development failed to meet 50 percent of the performance target in the last fiscal year, signalling tepid pace at which development works are moving ahead.
The government has categorised 21 development projects, mostly infrastructure, as ‘national pride’. This implies these projects are vital for the country’s overall development. Acknowledging the importance of these projects, the government has ensured these projects do not face any funding problem during construction phase. Also, the prime minister has the authority to make direct intervention if these projects encounter any problem.
In spite of these provisions, nine national pride projects failed to meet performance target of 50 percent on average in the fiscal year 2015-16, which ended in mid-July, shows the latest report by the National Planning Commission. The report was presented during the 37th meeting of the National Development Action Committee chaired by PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday.
As performance of these projects remained unsatisfactory, PM Dahal said he would take the lead in monitoring the implementation of national pride projects.
“I’ll monitor these projects on my own. And all ministries and state agencies should create an environment to ensure proper implementation of these projects,” he told the meeting, which was attended by all the ministers and government secretaries.
This, however, is not the first time many national pride projects have failed to meet performance targets, which include target on physical works that need to be completed within a fiscal year and target on use of financial resources allocated for projects. But the main reason for underperformance in the last fiscal year, according to government officials, was trade embargo imposed by India, which affected imports of petroleum products and construction materials.
The report card of national pride projects shows that the performance of 1200-megawatt Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project was the worst in the last fiscal year, with the project meeting only 5.1 percent of the physical target and 5 percent of the financial target.
The project located on the border between Gorkha and Dhading districts has cited lack of experts and permanent officials, delay in land acquisition and extension of compensation to households whose land needs to be acquired, and problems related to resettlement and rehabilitation as major impediments. Another laggard in the last fiscal year was the East-West Railway Project, which met only 29.2 percent of the physical target and 6.5 percent of the financial target in the last fiscal year. The 946-km electric rail line, being built at an estimated cost of Rs69.52 billion, has been facing problems in getting permits to execute construction works in forest areas. The project, as per the report, is also facing problems in land acquisition.
The third one on the list of worst performing national pride projects in the last fiscal year was Gautam Buddha International Airport of Bhairahawa, which met 27 percent of the physical target and 10.6 percent of the financial target.
Being built through the support of the Asian Development Bank, the project is expected to be completed by December 2017. The performance of the project remained poor in the last fiscal year, as it faced problems in acquiring construction aggregates.
Among others, Postal Highway, Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project, Second International Airport in Bara, Pashupati Area Development Trust, Lumbini Area Development Trust and Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track failed to meet 50 percent of the performance target in the last fiscal year. On the other hand, the progress report of West Seti Hydroelectric Project was not submitted by the project developer, the report says.
Despite this grim scenario in implementation of the national pride projects, Sikta Irrigation Project, Babai Irrigation Project, Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project, Bheri-Babai Diversion Project, North-South (Koshi) Highway, North-South (Kaligandaki Corridor) Highway, North-South (Karnali) Highway, Melamchi Drinking Water Project, and President Chure Conservation Programme were among a few bright spots, meeting more than 80 percent of the performance target.