Postal Road Projects: DoR scraps RfP for Nepali consultant at India’s callThe Department of Roads (DoR) has scrapped the Request for Proposal (RfP) issued to hire a Nepali consultant for the India-funded Hulaki Rajmarga (Postal Highway) after southern neighbour’s insistence that an Indian consultant be hired for the project, according to sources close to the matter.
The Department of Roads (DoR) has scrapped the Request for Proposal (RfP) issued to hire a Nepali consultant for the India-funded Hulaki Rajmarga (Postal Highway) after southern neighbour’s insistence that an Indian consultant be hired for the project, according to sources close to the matter.
As per the agreement signed between the two sides, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) had taken the responsibility of consultancy service of 11 postal roads to be funded by India. Of the total 17 remaining postal roads, which need to be upgraded, six have to be constructed by Nepal itself.
According to DoR officials, India had agreed to allow Nepal to hire contractors for the India-funded postal road projects using IRs5 billion (NRs8 billion) Indian grant.
Balram Misra, chief of the Postal Roads Project, said the DoR scrapped the RfP for hiring a domestic consultant for the India-funded projects after the southern neighbour formally came up with the idea of employing an Indian consultant.
“We had issued the RfP to hire a domestic consultant after the Indian side didn’t oppose our plan initially,” said Misra. “But, we reached an understanding on hiring an Indian consultant after they came up with written proposal on the matter.”
After the new understanding, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the postal roads during former prime minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India in February. In September this year, the two countries signed an agreement to hire NHIDCL as a consultant for the road projects.
Misra added that India wanted to supervise the works of the contractors as it was investing a huge amount of money.
“In such projects, there is a trend of donor country hiring the consultant,” he added.
According to the project office, NHIDCL recently set up its office in Nepal and has been overseeing the detailed designs of the India-funded road projects.
Before the fresh understanding reached between the two sides, Nepal had insisted that Nepal be allowed to hire consultant and contractor as per Nepal’s public procurement procedure after most of the contractors hired by India could not complete even a small portion of upgradation work.
Of the 19 roads projects under the Postal Highway, contracts of 17 roads projects—a total of 518 kilometres—had been terminated after the contractors ran away, causing delay in one of the much prioritised road projects of the country.
Under the first phase, upgrading work of 607km road had moved ahead since 2010.
However, during the first meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism on November 29, the Indian side had raised the issue of timely land acquisition using of right-of-way for the Tarai road projects.
As per the MoU signed between the two sides in February, the land acquisition of 90 percent of land should have completed under the right-of-way. But, according to the sources, around 50 percent of the land has been acquired so far.
Currently, of the 11 roads to be financed by the southern neighbour, tenders for two roads have already been awarded while tender has been called for the contract of two other projects, according to the project office.
During Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India, prime ministers of both the countries had directed officials to expedite the construction of postal roads and feeder roads (Tarai roads) and complete them expeditiously in accordance with the modalities for implementation agreed by both sides in February 2016.