First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Prakash Jwala, has said that the Indian Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) has been causing obstructions in the blacktopping of the Postal Highway in the far western Nepal.
During a meeting of the Delegated Management and Government Assurance Committee of the National Assembly (NA) on Sunday, the minister talked about challenges in completing the project due to the non-cooperation from the SSB. He said that blacktopping has been hampered in the Belauri-Pachui area in Kanchanpur.
Minister Jwala said there are some issues regarding border disputes in the given area and various initiations from the official channel to ease the situation for the highway construction have yielded no results. The Postal Highway is being developed by connecting 21 districts in the Terai from east to west.
The committee, a few days back, visited the area and the minister was summoned to the meeting on Sunday to take stock of the government efforts towards the project implementation. According to Minister Jwala, the Foreign Ministry has been requested to facilitate this matter. He also called for efforts from authorities concerned to address the issue.
Postal Highway Directorate’s Director Ajay Kumar Mul apprised the meeting that work in 60 kilometers in Kanchanpur has been divided into three clusters (each cluster measuring 20 kilometers) and the blacktopping is being carried out. Border disputes have hampered the works along the 1,400 meter section of Belauri Pachui-Khapati river area.
He said that there were no issues while the preparations for the blacktopping were done. The SSB intervened while graveling works were about to start for the blacktopping, citing the area lies on the no man’s land. The Survey Office and Department were also apprised of this development by the road project.
According to the project, a diplomatic initiation is necessary to sort out the issue. The exact location of Pillar number 38 should be identified. Mul said they are waiting for a substantive direction from the government to proceed with the project implementation. The second cluster incorporating the Belauri-Pachai-Khapati River reports 80 percent physical progress.
Similarly, the project faces issues for the project implementation in the 15 kilometers stretch of the third cluster as the area lies along the Shuklaphanta National Park. The transportation of construction materials and the construction works are restricted to daytime and it is challenging to transport construction equipment to the site as well. Initially, a budget of Rs 4.5 billion was ensured for the project, but the cost is estimated to reach Rs 10 billion due to the delay in completion of the works. RSS
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