August 9: The Mid-hill Highway and the Postal Highway which were initiated almost a decade ago are most likely to miss the deadline for completion of the projects. Only three years are left for the two ambitious projects to complete their work as per the contract but more than half the work remain incomplete.
According to the progress report prepared by the Department of Roads, the overall completion of the Mid-hill Highway and the Postal Highway in the last 10 years is 48 percent and 44 percent respectively.
The Mid-Hill Highway which was started in FY 2007/2008 should be completed within 2022/2023.
The highway which stretches from Chiya Bhanjyang of Panchthar to Jhulaghat of Baitadi is 1,879 kilometers long. But only 802 kilometers of road has been blacktopped so far.
Out of 129 bridges in the highway, only 67 have been completed.
The estimated cost of this project is Rs 84.33 billion. So far, the project has already spent Rs 39.91 billion. The project has not been able to acquire land along 492 kilometers of the proposed route.
According to Project Chief Deepak KC, they are having a hard time to sort out the problem caused by two hydropower projects which fall on the route of the highway.
Meanwhile, the construction of the Postal Highway had kicked off in 2009/2010 and is supposed to finish by 2023/2024.
However, out of the total length of 1792 kilometers, only 270 kilometers have been blacktopped.
The highway requires a total of 219 bridges but only 81 have been completed so far. According to the initial assessment, the estimated cost of the project was Rs 47 billion but the estimate has increased to Rs 65 billion now. The project has already spent Rs 27 billion.