Outer Ring Road back on cards
By Modnath Dhakal
Kathmandu, May 20: The Development and Technology Committee (DTC) of the Federal Parliament has directed to continue the Outer Ring Road Project development which was almost shelved after the government could not find ways to acquire the land in the way of the road after the land-mafias sliced it to as small as 3 Anas pieces.
The situation is so worse that about 14,000 landowners should be compensated for about 8,000 ropanis of land in the Satungal-Chobhar section alone.
According to the project office, some 80,000 to 100,000 ropanis of land is required to be pooled for the 72-km road project which the government had proposed in 2005 with an aim to create greater mobility and reduce the traffic congestion in the valley.
The committee directed the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to move the project forward in a land-pooling model from the next fiscal year 2019/20.
“The Outer Ring Road Project is crucial for the greater development of the Kathmandu Valley, construction of urban development and traffic management. So the MoUD must implement the project from the next fiscal,” directed Kalyani Kumari Khadka, chair of the committee. The DTC also directed the Ministry of Finance to ensure the resources required for the project.
Although the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the much-hyped 72-km road project that would encircle most of the urban areas in the Kathmandu Valley was prepared in 2008, no progress has been made so far.
The government was successful in completing the DPR of the 6.6 km Satungal-Chobhar section of the project which was endorsed by the Cabinet in April 2018, raising the hope that the project would begin after remaining in papers for about 13 years. But the plan has failed to materialise.
The project cost according to the 2008 DPR was Rs. 72 billion, but experts say that it needs triple of that money if the project is to be developed now. Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts will have 35.08 km, 15.8 km and 21.05 km length of the road respectively.
But the MoUD hasn’t included the project in its proposed budget and programmes for the next fiscal. Speaking at the meeting, Minister for Urban Development Mohammad Ishtiyaq Rai said that the Ministry could not include the project in the budget due to the unavailability of resources.
“The ministry has the ceiling of just Rs. 32 billion. Given the number of cities across the country and need for the modern urban infrastructure development, we could not think about including the project of that size in the budget,” he said.
Secretary at the Ministry Dr. Ramesh Prasad Singh said that additional budget of Rs. 24 billion was needed to address the programmes announced in the government’s Policy and Programmes for the next fiscal year alone.
“The size of the budget provided to us will be insufficient for the development of multi-year projects, Bagmati and Dhobikhola corridors, relocation of the settlements at risks, and construction of federal parliament building and an international convention centre,” he said.
The DTC has directed the MoUD to implement about a dozen plans and projects, including the outer ring road, integrated infrastructure, settlement relocation and waste management.
It asked the ministry to relocate the settlements at risk before the coming monsoon, prepare the DPR of the mega cities and smart cities, develop five cities in the Himalaya region, and start the construction of the building for the federal parliament and house for the parliamentarians.
Similarly, it also directed the MoUD to expedite the construction of the urban sewerage system and forge collaborations with other concerned ministries.
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