A total of 17 firms, including a domestic one, have expressed their interest to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for the Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway.One year into construction, the Nepal Army is carrying out preliminary works without a DPR and a consulting agency for the mega structure the country plans to see completed within the next four years.
After failing to purchase the DPR prepared by an Indian consortium allegedly for its high price, the Army had called an Expression of Interest within April 12. The deadline was extended twice until April 28 citing technical reasons. The consortium of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Transportation Networks, IL&FS Engineering and Construction, and Suryavir Infrastructure Construction that prepared the DPR earlier has not joined the bidding process. Army Spokesperson Brig Gen Gokul Bhandari told the Post that the 16 international firms include those from India and China.
A financial evaluation will be done before selecting the firm for preparing the DPR of the expressway that is expected to bring the Capital and Nijgadh in Bara within an hour’s drive. The Army, which has begun construction of the 76 km road is working on the basis of a feasibility study conducted by the Asian Development Bank in 2008. The Army is clearing trees and acquiring land in the project area.
An earlier administration led by KP Sharma Oli had entrusted the national defence force with under-taking the project by cancelling the decision of previous governments to invite Indian construction companies.
While the NA has taken the charge, domestic or international contractors would do most of the major work. The Army has no experience of doing technically challenging projects like an expressway although it has opened tracks of over a dozen crucial roads in difficult terrains.
The expressway track was also opened by the Army.
While local contractors would do soil reinforcing, cutting and filling and cross drainage works, international contractors will work on high bridges and tunnels.
The Army has already selected around two dozen domestic contractors. It has signed agreements with five other contractors to supply construction equipment. It will invite international bidders for high bridges and tunnels once the DPR is ready.
Construction works began after then-prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal laid the foundation stone for the project in May 2017.