Two Major Railway Project Waiting for Budget in Nepal
Delays in announcing a full budget allocation has held back two major rail projects in Nepal.
The Mechi-Mahakali and Pokhara-Kathmandu electrical railway and the Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport (KSUT) projects were not officially mentioned in the budget.
The implementing agency, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW), said the National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance have already approved the KSUT project.
The selection of consultants for the KSUT project has been delayed, but the MoPPW and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are looking to appoint a consultant soon to commence the design work.
The $30m KSUT project will receive $22m from the ADB, $3m from the Global Environment Facility with the rest coming from the government.
RITES India, which completed the feasibility study for the Mechi-Mahakali and Pokhara-Kathmandu railway project, said NPR800bn ($11.16bn) is required to construct the 1,317km broad-gauge railway network.
The MoPPW has asked for a budget of NPR150m ($2m) for the detailed project report of the Mechi-Mahakali and Pokhara-Kathmandu railway project in the current fiscal year 2010-11.
The budget delays have also stalled the NPR3m ($41,859) feasibility study for a metro railway in Kathmandu.
It is expected that if the government issues the budget by mid-November, the contracts will not be awarded until mid-May next year, according to the Kathmandu Post.