Fate Of Pride Projects
Despite being rich in natural resources and having comparatively good human resources, Nepal exhibits a bad example of failed development. It witnessed scores of radical political changes but the spirit of change was not reflected in the material development of Nepali society. There was not dearth of the announcement of big and ambitious development schemes. Pathetically, such projects hardly made headway over the decades. Lack of political will, commitment and integrity coupled with red tap-infested bureaucracy and height of apathy towards the development of public infrastructure at the grassroots has contributed to the sluggish progress in the myriad projects dubbed as game-changer for the socio-economic transformation of country. There are many projects related to infrastructure, hydropower, irrigation, drinking water, roads and express way running in limbo for years. One may be shocked at the poor state of projects started more than three decades ago. They have sucked the state coffers to the hilt. According to news report, published in this daily, the Lumbini Development Trust began 32 years ago and is still under construction. It has made 80 per cent physical progress with the spending of 80 per cent budget. In a similar manner, Babai Irrigation Project, started 30 years back, has made around 60 per cent progress with 47.2 per cent spending of allocated budget. So is the case with the Pashupati Area Development Trust that has barely made 40.2 per cent progress in 17 years. Greater irony can be seen in the hydropower sector. The big hydropower projects such as the West Seti and Budhigandaki are not making any progress. The international companies hogged them for years before leaving them in lurch over the conflicts with the local and national stakeholders. Now no big companies are showing interest to construct them to the much chagrin of Nepalis.
These grim facts about the status of vital projects came to light at the meeting of the National Development Problem resolution Committee held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli the other day. Upon receiving information about the condition of 21 pride projects, PM Oli has called for coordination among the line ministries to expedite the project construction. While instructing the concerned authorities to punish those responsible for the inordinate delay in the completion of projects, Oli also suggested utilising the modern technology to bring efficiency, speed and effectiveness in the project works. The National Planning Commission officials have listed some key factors behind the project moving at snail’s pace. They are project managers, procurement process, poor planning and execution. The Commission is for chalking out necessary laws to root out the maladies and malfeasance hitting the development projects. It is apparent that the government lacks strong monitoring mechanism to oversee the implementation of projects. In the past, erring and crook contractors took the advantage of weak government and politicised bureaucracy. Now the country has got stable and strong government capable of fixing the vexing problems besetting the development sector. The concerned ministers and secretaries should be responsible and serious about building these projects. They should implement the PM’s directives honestly so that the nation will not further suffer from dilatory posture of project managers and reluctant administration. In addition, the local people and their representatives should be active to facilitate the government in finishing the projects in time.