September 20: The government’s initiative to develop 45 new towns under its urban development strategy has been moving ahead in snail’s pace. Lack of adequate budget, manpower and land management have affected the work progress of the government plan which was started in 2067/68 BS.
The government had conceptualized this project about a decade ago with the objective of establishing 10 new towns and other hill stations along the Mid Hill Highway. The government had anticipated to complete the project within two decades with an estimated budget of Rs 150 billion.
A decade down the lane, the government has been able to spend only Rs 5 billion in the project. The government was projected to spend Rs 5 billion and the local units and private sector to contribute Rs 10 billion for each of the new cities. However, neither the local governments nor the private sector have poured any investment in this mega project.
The government body authorised to oversee the project informed New Business Age that Panchthar’s Fidim and Tehrathum’s Basantapur are the only two areas which have made any tangible progress. The government has spent as much as Rs 340 million in these two places.
Under this project, a total of 185 kilometers of track has been opened and some portions upgraded. Drainage system has been laid over 71 km and 23 buildings have been constructed so far.
Likewise, 1139 solar lights have been installed and two vegetables and fruits market have been set up while the project has also completed construction of six bus parks, one playground, six parks, and four land pooling blocks.