A section of the Muglin-Pokhara Road.
KATHMANDU: The completion deadline for the Muglin-Abukhaireni-Pokhara road section, contracted to a Chinese company, is fast approaching, but the project has hit a roadblock.
Despite the contract being inked on January 30, 2021, with an initial completion target of April 2024, a mere 8 months away, the progress has stalled, with less than 20 percent of the work completed.
The Chinese company had initially proposed dividing the project into two sections to expedite progress, but a dispute with the Nepalese contractor has caused a standstill.
The Tanahu section, which falls under the Muglin-Pokhara road extension, was partitioned into two parts. Nevertheless, both segments have made limited headway, failing to cross even the 20% mark.
This sluggish pace raises concerns about the project’s timely completion.
The situation is even dire in the Jamune to Pokhara section, where progress stands at a mere 4.1 percent.
Work on this segment has been hindered by slow wall construction and earth-cutting efforts.
The eastern section of the project, spanning 41.45 km, was awarded to China Communication Construction.
This section, involving the construction of three major and four minor bridges, was slated for completion by April 2024.
The western section, from Jamun to Pokhara, began construction on August 28, 2021, following a contract signed on May 16, 2021, with the Chinese company Yanghui Kaiyuan Highway and Bridge Construction.
The project was previously delayed due to local demands for royalties tied to construction materials during road expansion. However, these issues appear to have been resolved.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan facilitated the project’s transformation into a four-lane road, a plan conceived back in 1969, in response to escalating traffic.
The project comes at a cost of Rs. 6 billion 21 crore 31 lakh 13 thousand for the eastern section and Rs. 7 billion 40 crore 46 lakh for the western section.
The road’s four-lane configuration will span 25/25 meters in both directions, widening to 41 meters in densely populated regions.
Dulegowda to Khairenitar Bazar, Kotre Bazar, and Kaski to Pokhara will feature a 46-meter wide road stretch.
The project’s delays have prompted attention from both the central and state government assemblies.
Physical Infrastructure Minister Prakash Jwala has also urged the Chinese company to adhere to the stipulated timeline.
The delays in highway expansion have significantly impacted travel, especially during the rainy season when the road becomes muddy, making it arduous to reach destinations.