Much-delayed Postal Road project gains momentumThe much-delayed the Postal Road project in the Tarai has finally gathered pace, with the first phase of the works set to be completed in two years.
The much-delayed the Postal Road project in the Tarai has finally gathered pace, with the first phase of the works set to be completed in two years.
If everything goes smoothly, officials say the 306km road will be constructed in two years, paving way for the second phase of the project.
If the first phase of the project is completed on time, it will open an avenue for the Nepali and the Indian sides to hold talks for the second phase.
Completion of the Postal Road project is an issue that had repeatedly figured during the India visit of incumbent Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his predecessors KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Both Nepali and Indian governments have time and again stressed the need to expedite the project as per the modalities for implementation agreed by the two countries in February 2016.
Officials said that after the contract termination with old consultant and contractors, the project has gained momentum in the last one year. The project is finally likely to meet the completion deadline of two years this time, they added. The Indian government has signed a new contract with National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) after terminating contract with RITES, India. Likewise, the Indian contractors previously involved in the project have also been terminated.
Currently, all 14 contractors of the project are from Nepal, though some of them have working partnership with Indian firms.
According to a senior Foreign Ministry official, the India-funded projects in Nepal like the Postal Road, construction of Integrated Check Points and extension of cross-border railway line have made significant achievements in the last one year.
Amiya Shrivastav, general manager of NHIDCL, said timely completion of the Postal Road project was dependent on two key issue of land acquisition.
The sooner the issues are settled the sooner the project will be completed, he added.
As per the agreement, acquisition of 90 per cent of the land should have been completed under the right-of-way system; so far the project has acquired only around 50 per cent of the land and many landowners have not even received compensation.