September 23: The progress of national pride projects has been very dismal. Out of the 22 national pride projects, only two have achieved 90 percent completion while other two have achieved 70 percent completion, according to the latest data prepared by the National Planning Commission.
Due to the delay in the completion of the projects, their estimated cost has soared to a staggering Rs 1,800 billion rupees. However, the government has spent only Rs 2 billion by the end of the last fiscal year.
The annual review report unveiled by the Vice Chair of the NPC Dr Pushpa Raj Kandel on Sunday shows such a dismal progress of the national pride projects.
According to the report, projects like Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project, West Seti Hydropower Project made zero progress during the last fiscal year.
The Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project, which was conceptualized seven years ago with the objective of completing it within 14 years, is yet to begin as the government is undecided over the modality of the project. The government is yet to finalize whether to construct the project with domestic investment or foreign investment.
The project was initiated by the government led by Baburam Bhattarai seven years ago. It has already spent Rs 36.2 billion out of which Rs 26.5 billion has been used for land acquisition. However, the progress of the project is nil due to political meddling.
Likewise, the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Project worth Rs 175 billion has achieved 8.5 percent progress by spending Rs 14.71 billion so far. The project is expected to gain momentum as the government approved its Detailed Project Report only last month.
Similarly, the much-hyped Nijgadh International Airport’s estimated cost is Rs 693 billion. However, the project has spent only Rs 590 million and the progress is limited to 10 percent only.
Another national pride project – the Postal Highway – has achieved 44 percent progress the Kali Gandaki Corridor and Karnali Corridor have achieved 13 percent and 20 percent progress respectively.
Only the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project and Melamchi Water Supply Project have achieved significant progress. The 450-megawatt Upper Tamakoshi Project worth Rs 49.2 billion is 99.3 percent complete while Melamchi Water Supply Project is 95 percent complete. However, the much-awaited project that is expected to end the drinking water crisis of the capital has been delayed after the Italian contractor undertaking the project pulled out unilaterally last year.
NPC officials have blamed the delay in selecting the construction modality and preparation of the DPR as the reasons behind the slow progress of much of the projects which will have a transforming effect on the country’s economy.