Province 5 pride projects left in limboThe capital expenditure is just seven percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
The Province 5 government had allocated Rs 50 million for the construction of the Rampur-Kapurkot road in 2018. The road was named Jibaraj Ashrit-Krishnasen road and was enlisted as a provincial pride project. Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel, through the project, had planned to develop the hill districts of the province into ‘hill stations’ to promote tourism.
In the current fiscal year, the government has allocated Rs 200 million to construct around 300 kilometres of the road. However, the pride project has yet to start.
According to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development, it has been preparing to begin the construction by dividing the road into four sections—Palpa, Arghakhanchi, Pyuthan and Rolpa.
“The first phase work of the project will start soon,” said Bhimarjun Pandey, the ministry spokesperson.
The provincial executive had also enlisted two other development projects—Charange-Jhumsa road and Lumbini Provincial Hospital—as pride projects. However, these development projects are also left in limbo.
The provincial government in the last fiscal year had allocated Rs 100 million for the construction of the Charange-Jhumsa road, which is taken as an alternative route to the landslide-prone Siddababa section of the Siddhartha Highway. But the project has not seen much progress. The province has allocated an additional Rs 100 million budget for the project in the current fiscal year as well.
Binod Chaudhary, chief at the Infrastructure Development Office in Gulmi, admitted that works along the Charange-Jhumsa road are yet to begin.
“The work has been delayed as the existing road alignment needs to be changed. Last year’s work is still going on and the tender bidding process is underway to spend this year’s budget,” said Chaudhary.
Similarly, the government’s plan to upgrade the zonal hospital to Lumbini Provincial Hospital has also hit a snag. The authorities had attempted to remove shutters rented to the local traders for business purpose. The traders knocked on the doors of the High Court, and the judicial body issued a stay order against the government. The work has been halted as the case is still pending at the court.
Besides these three pride projects, almost all other development projects in the province are at a snail’s pace. The capital expenditure in the province is low in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Physical Infrastructure Development Minister Baijanath Chaudhary said that seven percent of the capital expenditure was spent in the first four months of the current fiscal year. The government had planned to spend around 20 percent during the period.
“We had to spend a long time in the preparation phase. The development projects will gather momentum now,” minister Chaudhary said.