Postal Highway construction speeds up; bilateral talks for 2nd phase on Wednesday
The government has expedited the construction of first phase of the East-West postal highway parallel to the Mahendra Highway with the aim to ease the trade and transportation between Nepal and India under the assistance of India.
The first phase of the construction will cover 609 kilometers of the 1,444 kilometers of the postal highway from Mechi in the east to Mahakali in the west.
The Bhairahawa-Lumbini section of the highway has been almost completed.
All works of the 88.7 kilometer road under the Dhangadi section has been completed and preparations are on for blacktopping it, RSS quoted director of the Postal Highway Project Mukti Gautam as saying.
The project is expected to be completed at a cost of Rs. 50 billion, which includes the construction of 63 bridges on the way. It is estimated to take two years to be completed.
Meanwhile, arguing that the decision to blacktop the 609 kilometers of the highway with a width of only 3.75 meters was technically wrong, locals of Dhangadi and adjoining areas have demanded expansion of the width of the road to establish it as a highway.
However, Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport, Tulasi Prasad Sitoula said given the pressure of vehicles in the section it was right to blacktop only a width of 3.75 meters. It can be expanded in the future considering the pressure of population and vehicles, he added.
As the contract has already been awarded for the blacktopping of a width of 3.75 meters, it cannot be expanded, said Indian ambassador to Nepal, Jayant Prasad.
However, the remaining 835 kilometers of the road to be built under the second phase would be expanded to two-lanes as per the request of the government of Nepal, he added.
A concrete decision to this end would be reached in the talks to be held between senior officials of Nepal and India on October 10, he added.
A team led by Joint-secretary at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Akhilesh Mishra is arriving here on Tuesday for the Steering Committee meeting, according to Joint-secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Hariom Srivastav.
Joint-secretary Srivastav shall lead the Nepali delegation comprising senior officials of the Finance, Foreign Affairs and Physical Planning and Works Ministries. Nepalnews.com