Mahakali corridor: only 30-km blacktopped in 12 years

KATHMANDU

The mega infrastructural and development projects which are being implemented in Kanchanpur have witnessed snail-paced progress. The Mahakali corridor road construction project, which was designed and executed for trade expansion up to Tinkar, the tri-country border entry point of Nepal, India and China, has seen dismal progress.

Only 30-km of the road section has been blacktopped as 12 years have already elapsed since the road construction was initiated in 2066 BS.  Though the contract was awarded first for road construction in Bramhadev area of Kanchanpur, it has not been initiated due to prolonging tree felling process.

There have been protracted hassles in cutting down trees along the 413-km road under the project that aims to expand access to roads from Bramhadev of Kanchanpur to Tinkar of Darchula through Dadeldhura and Baitadi.
Engineer at Mahakali Corridor Darchula Tinkar Road Project, Milan Ghatani said track opening was underway in different sections of the corridor road.

A contract amounting to Rs 55 million was signed last year for the opening uf 15-km track from Bramhadev of Kanchanpur to Jogbudha area of northern Dadeldhura. It has yet to be initiated. The Diwa-Shanidev JV was awarded the contract for the task.

Proprietor of Diwa Shanidev JV Devi Dutta Bhatta complained that he could not advance the project works for the past one year since the project had not obtained permission for tree-felling. “Had there been the permission for tree felling, much would have been progressed so far along the corridor”, he said, adding there was no option but to wait for permission.

As many as 1,951 trees have to be cut down in the Kanchanpur area under the corridor. The 15-km track has to be completed by 2080 BS. Likewise, the construction of postal road in Kanchanpur which had to be completed in 30 months was still incomplete despite spending of double time than the originally planned.

Similarly, contractual responsibility was entrusted for the construction of 62-km road from Doke Bazaar to Daiji through Betauri in Falgun 2073 BS. As of now, only 34-km of the road has been blacktopped, shared Information Officer of the Postal Highway Project office Dhangadhi Padma Bahadur Madai. He further informed 28-km stretch of the road is yet to be blacktopped.

Though the contractor was warned of action for delay in construction works, the timeline was expanded for fifth times. “Timeline has been extended up to Mangsir (November-December) for the package from Doke Bazaar to Belauri and next year Asar (June-July) for remaining two packages, he said.

Likewise, progress of the third phase of Mahakali Irrigation Project – which is the national priority project being implemented in Kanchanpur has also seen snail pace.  Two other big projects of the district – establishment of Daiji Chhela Industrial Area and Dodhara-Chadani dry port are also not in priority. In the current fiscal year, the government had allocated Rs 1 billion each for both the projects but it was not gaining momentum as anticipated.

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