Road expansion project seeks ministry’s decision to resume work or abandon itProject authorities say it's been three months they’ve sent a request, but the ministry has not responded yet
The Kathmandu Valley Road Expansion Project has sought a decision from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport on whether to continue or discontinue expansion works, as a number of projects are currently being halted since the Supreme Court made it mandatory for the government to pay compensation before acquiring land from the public.
The top court on September 18, 2017, had made it mandatory for the government to compensate landowners before acquiring land for expanding the nine-km Nagdhunga-Kalanki road.
The decision’s implications were seen on other roads being expanded in the Kathmandu Valley, with people obstructing the expansion works demanding compensation.
After the court verdict, the government in July last year had decided to expand the Nagdhunga-Kalanki road and the Chabahil-Sankhu road “in whatever space was available” without acquiring land from the public. But it is yet to take any decision on other roads where expansion works have been affected.
“It has been three months since we sent a request to the ministry asking for a way out,” said Arjun Aryal, chief of Kathmandu Valley Road Expansion Project. “We have suggested three options—terminate the contract, continue work in whatever space is available and compensate locals, and move forward expansion work as per plan.”
He said that the ministry is yet to respond.
Officials at the project and the ministry say that the government cannot provide compensation to the people because they cannot bear the expenses. It has not reached a decision on any of the other proposed options.
Ministry’s Secretary Devendra Karki told the Post that the ministry was still discussing the matter.
According to Kathmandu Valley Road Expansion Project, because of the government’s lack of decision, expansion works have been affected along Lagankhel-Satdobato, Imadol-Godawari-Lamatar, Dholahiti-Chapagaun-Saraswatichandra, Karmanasa-Harisiddhi-Godavari Kunda and Jorpati-Sundarijal road sections.
Likewise, there is an obstruction along the Nakkhu Khola-Bhaisepati-Bungamati, Chakrapath-Gyanjyot Ganesh-Biddhatmarga and Pepsikola-Sallaghari roads.
According to Aryal, locals at Chapagaun of Dholahiti-Chapagaun-Saraswoti road and Harisiddhi along the Karmanasa-Harisiddhi-Godavari Kunda road have also obstructed construction works. Locals have also created obstructions in different areas of Jorpati-Sundarijal road.
Since the Supreme Court order, the project’s effort to remove 120 houses in Harisiddhi area was obstructed by the locals as they demanded compensation for both land and houses.
According to the project, locals have been obstructing expansion work along the Lagankhel-Satdobato road, demanding compensation for both land and houses.
Aryal, however, said that the contractors have been working in the areas as per the designs in the areas where there is no obstruction.
Since the government’s decision to expand the road “in whatever space was available’, the Kalanki-Nagdhunga Road as almost complete. But, the progress along the Chabahil-Sankhu road is affected due to flooding, lack of adequate space for drainage and local obstruction in different areas, according to Aryal.
In some locations, the locals who had given up their land for road expansion in the past are now obstructing works demanding compensation.
Locals obstructed the work in Hariyalinagar, Khumaltar, Dakshin Dhoka and Salambutar among other locations along the Chabahil-Sankhu road, according to project officials.