By Our Correspondent
Makawanpur, Nov. 9
The construction of the much awaited Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track has finally begun with a target to complete within three years.
The track will link the capital city with the southern plains called the Terai cutting the length to 76 kilometres from 157 km Tribhuvan Highway, the shortest route in existence.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Planning and Works Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar inaugurated the construction laying down the foundation stone Monday at Annapani, Makawanpur Gadhi VDC Ward-1.
Nepal Army has been entrusted with the responsibility of the construction which is expected to be completed within three years. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 56 billion.
The construction of the 76.2 km fast tract has now been confirmed with the commencement of track opening between Malta of Lalitpur district and Budhune, Makawanpur Gadhi VDC of Makawanpur district in the first phase of the construction.
The four-lane track will extend from the proposed outer ring road in Kathmandu to the East-West highway at Nijgadh of Bara district.
The proposed Kathmandu-Bagmati-Thingan-Nijgadh fast track will be shorter than the Prithvi and the Tribhuvan highways, the two all-weather roads that link Kathmandu with the Terai.
Including Tribhuvan Highway, Kanti Highway, Ganesh Man Road, Madan Bhandari Road, there are at least half a dozen routes to Terai via Makawanpur from the capital city.
Vehicles have to run across 157 km to reach Kathmandu from Pathlaiya via the Tribhuvan highway and 254 km via East-West Highway.
The track will have a tunnel of 1.3 km at Thingana of Makawanpur.
A preliminary survey has shown that at lest 528 infrastructure including houses and temples will have to be replaced while at least 138.5 hectares of land will be pooled for the track.
At least 120 small and big bridges will be built. As per the design of the track, the speed of the vehicles will not be more than 80 km per hour.
About one billion rupees is likely to be spent expected for conservation of cut or dumped land around the track. The conservation will be done using bio-engineering technology.
The government has allocated 250 million rupees for this year to open the fast track. Out of the total allocation this year, 190 million will go for construction while 60 million will be spent for administrative purposes, army chief Chhatra Man Gurung said.
A total of 112 km of road that includes the fast track, the two-lane Budhune-Hetauda and Nijgadh-Pathalaiya roads will be constructed within three years to bring the fast track into operation. The construction of the two-lane road also falls under the fast track project.
The fast track will link the capital city with Nijagadh, where the second international airport of the country is proposed. The track is also expected to contribute to national economy by being an important section of the Syaphrubesi-Birgunj trade transit route.
Including DPM Gachchhahar, DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sujata Koirala, Minsiter for Forest and Soil Conservation Deepak Bohara, Minsiter for Tourism and Civil Aviation Sarad Singh Bhandari, Minister for Land Reform Dambar Shrestha, Finance Minister Surendra Pandey, vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Dr. Yuva Raj Khatiwada and chief secretary Madhav Ghimire, among other government officials, were present in the inaugural ceremony.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal was scheduled to inaugurate the construction. He, however, could not do so as he fell sick since this morning.