Postal Road Project: Works progress at a snail’s pacePhysical progress in almost all the stretches of the Postal Road Project funded by India is dismal against the target as the highway built during the Rana period undergoes renovation.
Physical progress in almost all the stretches of the Postal Road Project funded by India is dismal against the target as the highway built during the Rana period undergoes renovation.
The roads, which are aligned both North-South and East-West, connect parts of inner Tarai as well as the Nepal-India border. The infrastructure is being upgraded with an Indian assistance of Rs8 billion.
According to the road project, as many as 10 stretches are under construction, almost all of them running behind the schedule. Works in 10 packages are lagging behind while progress in the other four packages is up to mark, according to the project office.
In a presentation, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation, an Indian government undertaking providing consultancy services, said that delays in land acquisition, forest clearance, and utility service removal by the government were hindering progress.
A part of the postal road is the Birgunj-Thori stretch. The first package has a 30km road and the progress should be 30 percent by December 2018. In the first week of September, progress in the project is only 16 percent. This project is being handled by Amr Pappu Contech Joint Venture.
Progress in another 30km stretch under the second package is insignificant too. As of August 18, completion of this sector is a negligible 4.99 percent. The desired output is 30 percent by November. The project contract was awarded to Kalika Baniya Joint venture.
Progress under two packages of the Tamagadhi-Simraungadh road stands at 15 percent each, according the Postal Highway Project. In both projects, the progress expected mid-July was 40 percent. The first package has been awarded to Sharma-Pappu-Roshan JV and the second package to Pappu-Mahabir JV. In the second package, work has stalled due to locals’ protest, according to the project office.
Similar is the situation at the Jaleshwor-Hardi Road handled by Sharma-Pappu-Roshan JV with 15 percent works having been over. According to the project office, the progress should have been 30 percent by June.
In Kanepokhari-Rangeli road, progress is just 16.5 percent as of the second week of August. Thirty percent result was expected by July first week this year, according to the project office. Lama-Danfe-Kanchanjunga JV is the contractor of this project.
In the Lamani Koilabas Road, progress falls short of target. According to the project office, progress as of mid-July this year stood at 24 percent, which should be 30 percent by mid-June. The contract of the project has been awarded to Kalika Kumar JV. The progress in Janakpur Yadukuha Road is 39 percent and there is a long road to go to achieve 70 percent progress by the first week of November as targeted.
But there has also been a good progress in the Kalyanpur-Barsain-Subbhranpatti, Maisthan-Gausalabazaar-Arsami and Birendrabazaar-Yadukuha-Mahinathpur sections. Kalyanpur-Barsain-Subbhranpatti witnessed 38 percent progress against the target of 40 percent by July while Maisthan-Gausalabazaar-Arsami Road reported 62 percent progress by mid-August. By the second week of June, the project was supposed to have been completed 40 percent.
The contractor involving Pappu Construction has worked more than the set target in the second package of the Birendrabazaar-Yadukuha-Mahinathpur road. The project has achieved 35 percent progress against the target of 30 percent by October. The work in the first package handled by Raman Construction is also satisfactory with physical progress of 48 percent by mid-July. The project was expected to achieve physical progress of 30 percent by mid-June.
“In the past, Indian government had awarded contract to Indian companies, which didn’t work,” said Arjun Suwal, an official at the Road Project.
During the visit of KP Sharma Oli to India in February 2016 in his earlier stint as prime minister, a memorandum of understanding was signed on revising the modality of awarding contracts, giving Nepal more say in the project.