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Expressway project should be given to India: Nepali Congress leader

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  11 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Kathmandu, May 10: Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday said the construction of the Kathmandu-Terai Fast-Track Road Project should be handed over to India.

The 76-km four-lane road project aims to link Nep’l’s capital with the southern Terai region and other areas of the Himalayan tion bordering India, halving the travel time to four hours. The total cost is estimated at $1 billion.

The Nepal government recently decided to take up the project mobilising resources on its own — rejecting New Delhi’s offer at a time when India’s Infrastructure Leasing and Fincial Services Limited (IL&FS) and its consortium had even prepared a detailed project report (DPR).

Deuba, a three-time prime minister of Nepal, told a parliamentary meeting that it was not a bad idea to construct the expressway from the country’s own resources but since a commitment had been made to India for the project, it will send a negative message to the intertiol community.

Deuba said it was not possible for Nepal to undertake the project from its own resources. “It is not possible,” he remarked.

A global tender was issued and three Indian firms showed interest in the proposed first expressway in Nepal.

After huge protest, the then Sushil Koirala-led government agreed to conduct a feasibility study first after which the IL&FS won the bid.

The task of preparing the DPR was given to IL&FS last year when Bimalendra Nidhi, an aide to Deuba, was minister for infrastructure and transport magement.

“If we termite the contract unilaterally, it will create trouble,” Deuba said at the meeting, pointing out that Nepal will have to pay a huge compensation in case the tender was cancelled.

“In such a situation, it will affect foreign investment in Nepal.” Nepal’s Supreme Court has ordered the government not to award the tender to any firm(s) until its verdict.

The K.P. Oli-led government has decided that another project — the second intertiol airport at Nijgadh in Bara district — in which too India showed interest, will be built by Nepal on its own. (IANS)

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