Clear policy suggested for development of towns along Mid-Hill Highway
KATHMANDU, July 18: The project office assigned to implement proposed development of ten settlements into town with urban facilities demanded concrete legal and policy framework on infrastructure development and arrangement of necessary human resources to speed up the implementation process.
Amid slow progress in developing ten new towns along the Puspalal Mid-Hill Highway, Clustered Urban Development Coordination Office (CUDCO) has asked the Department of Urban Development and Building (DoUDB) to make new town development act which will facilitate integrated development of infrastructure in those settlements.
The CUDCO also demanded the formation of four town development committees.
“We suggested the government to amend the existing Town Development Committee Act that has failed to ensure integrated approach for physical infrastructure development in the urban areas,” Sunil Kumar Karna, chief of the CUDCO told Republica on Tuesday.
Those short-listed for the purpose are Phidim of Ilam and Basantapur of Terhatum in Eastern Development Region, Kurkot of Sindhuli and Baireni of Dhading in Centra Development Region, Dumre-Bhansar of Tanahun and Burtibang of Baglung in Western Development Region, Chaurjahari of Rukum and Rakam of Salyan in Mid-Western Region and Sanfebagar of Achham and Patan of Baitadi in Far-western Region.
In the beginning the government had selected 58 towns along the 1,775-km Mid-Hill Highway to study the potentiality for their development into bigger towns.
Karna also said the CUDCO also demanded to set up town development committees in Burtibang, Galchhi (Bairani), Rakam Karnali (Dailekha) and Khurkot of Sindhuli to speed up the process of developing infrastructure in those towns.
“We have also suggested activating existing town development committees in other selected settlements and immediately set up offices in all ten towns for infrastructure development works,” said Karna.
Submitting a report on the progress in the development of the ten towns recently to DoUDB, the CUDCO also proposed additional human resources to ensure timely implementation of the infrastructure development works.
“With the existing human resources, it is impossible to undertake the infrastructure development works in those towns so we have proposed for immediate appointment of 158 staffs including 43 gazetted officers for the purpose,” said Karna. The CUDCO has its sole office with hardly half a dozen staffs including project chief.
In an effort to discourage the out-bound migration from hill districts to urban and tarai, the government has been implementing project to upgrade ten small settlements along the Mid-Hill Highway into bigger towns by developing necessary infrastructures and services by investing over Rs 1.37 billion.
Officials said separate urban development projects would be designed and implemented for those 10 mini-towns that are selected on the basis of nine criteria-- availability of space and water resources, prospect of economic development, non-agricultural activities, existing population as well as prospect of growth of population through inbound migration from other places, literacy rate and availability and prospect of electricity facility.
The target of the program is to increase the existing population of those towns to accommodate at least 50,000 people each. Among the picked towns, Phidim had the highest population of 13,650 where as Rakam is inhabited by just 1,800 people, according to the population census 2001.
“In the first phase, we have been developing roads, sewage system and drinking water networks in Chaurjahari, Phidim and Sanfebagar with the plan to gradually initiating works in other town as well,” Karna added.