Even though the Narayangadh-Muglin road section has worn out faster than expected, its long-awaited reconstruction and upgrading is not likely to be completed this fiscal year. The reconstruction process was halted right at the tender stage.
The construction work was expected to begin in May last year but one year out of the three-year project deadline has already been wasted due to tussles among construction companies.
According to Shyam Bikram Khand, the project manager, none of the bidding companies has been awarded the tender even though the process began a year ago.
“Due to complaints against bidding companies, the process has not been finalized and surely the work cannot now be started this year,” Khand told Republica.
Even if a contractor was chosen, the upcoming rainy season would affect the construction work, he added.
In addition, the terms and conditions of the World Bank, the donor agency for the project, have caused further delay, Khand also said. A feasibility study is being conducted as per the terms, he added.
Hari Kumar Pokharel, chief of the Roads Division office, Chitwan informed that as per the plan, 16 km of the two-lane road will be 11-meter wide in the terai while the remaining 14 km in the hills will be 9.5-meter wide. Nine meters of the road width in the middle will be blacktopped.
“Last year´s plan was not executed due to lethargy; however a study for ensuring durable construction is underway,” Pokharel said. “Vehicles carrying more than their capacity ply the road, so construction of a durable road that takes this into consideration is needed.”
As per recent guidelines issued by the roads division, houses and other structures within 15 meters on each side of the road should be relocated.
Meanwhile, a team from the roads division on Wednesday carried out its latest survey and decided that there was no need to immediately relocate 80 houses, unlike what an earlier survey recommended.
Houses that have been built on encroached space in the road area would be removed. However, compensation would be provided to those who have built on private land. A committee has been formed under the coordination of the chief district officer to deal with compensation matters.
Houses built on encroached road space, massive traffic jams, frequent turnings in the road, difficult terrain and the River Trishuli are also posing hindrances to road renovation.
The World Bank has been investing Rs 3 billion to construct 34 km out of the total 36-km road section that links the eastern and western parts of the country with the capital.
The government had constructed the road some 34 years ago with aid from China. Currently, over 5,000 vehicles ply the road every day. It has already been renovated many times in patches.