Road department turns in yet another dismal resultsOfficials, however, claim progress in bridge construction the most impressive with completion of 250 structures in the last fiscal year.
The Department of Roads managed to accomplish only one of its targets in road and bridge construction projects in the last fiscal year, with officials blaming inappropriate choice of projects, hurdles in land acquisition and lack of timely mobilisation of government staff for poor results.
According to the department, the performance in new road construction was the poorest among all projects where the progress rate stood at 67 percent. Only 440km roads out of the targeted 651km were extended.
The progress in periodic maintenance of roads has also been poor, with an achievement of 69 percent of the target. According to the department, 230km out of 334km roads went through the periodic maintenance process last year.
Blacktopping of roads and construction of bridges have an identical progress rate of 81 percent, while gravel works recorded a progress rate of 96 percent. The road repair is the only sector with a cent percent progress.
Arjun Suwal, assistant spokesperson for the department, blamed a number of factors, such as shortage of bitumen, confusion created by an amendment to the Public Procurement Regulation and early monsoon for unsatisfactory progress in road works in the last fiscal year.
He, however, claimed that the progress in bridge construction was the most impressive. “In the past, we used to complete 80-90 bridges in a year, but we completed nearly 250 in the last fiscal year,” he said.
Despite failing to meet the overall targets in most areas, the department said there was notable progress in roads under National Pride Projects in the last fiscal year.
The progress in Mid-Hill Highway stood at 97.4 percent, with blacktopping of 152km road against the target of 160km, and gravelling of 286km out of the total 305km.
The department claimed to have made outstanding progress in Postal Road in the last fiscal, with 170km being blacktopped against the target of 100km, and 325km being gravelled against the target of just 67km.
Likewise, there was cent percent progress in North-South Roads, while that of Kaligandaki corridor stood at 97 percent, and Karnali corridor at 95 percent.
The department said progress on road works under National Pride Project could have been higher if there had not been delays in cutting down trees along the highways, land acquisition and lack of construction materials.