Govt tells NPBCL to clarify financing for tunnel project
KATHMANDU, Jan 20: The government has asked Nepal Purwadhar Bikas Development Company (NPBCL) to revise its detailed project report (DPR) on Kathmandu-Hetauda tunnel highway and clearly demonstrate the sources of finance for construction of the project.
The Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM) after studying the DPR has asked NPBCL to demonstrate financial sources and rethink the cost estimate of the project. The company had submitted the DPR to the ministry almost a month ago.
"Some points in the report especially about the sources of finance for project construction are unclear," Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the MoPPWTM , told Republica. "It seems the estimated cost of the project is based on unrealistic calculation." Sitaula further said that the government has asked the company to make a carefully estimate the cost.
The much-touted tunnel highway, which will connect Kathmandu and Hetauda will be 50 km long. After being convinced by the DPR report prepared by NPBCL, the government is mulling awarding the project to NPBCL under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) Act.
The ministry has also asked NPBCL to limit the concession period just at 30 years. "We have told NPBCL that the government cannot allow NPBCL to operate the project for more than 30 years. They have asked for 35 years but existing law -- BOOT Act -- does not allow this," Sitaula said. According to BOOT Act, the government can give just 30 years to operate project to the contractors.
The company had submitted its report claiming that it would generate money from sources such as public investment, consortium of different business groups, investment from non-resident Nepalis (NRNs) and providing shares to the workers and contractors in return for their labor. "We also are working for generating institutional finance from different public and private institutions," Lal Krishna KC, vice chairperson of the NPBCL said.
The company, which is claiming that it would complete the construction of the project in four years, had submitted the report with cost estimation of Rs 22 billion. "That is initial cost estimation. The cost varies as per the quality of materials that are used for construction and structure of the road that we opt to build," KC said.
The ministry has made it clear that the report should be clear in every single term to make the project implementation smooth and timely. "We will move forth and take a decision after the company comes up with a revised report. Government´s decision will be based mainly on the sources of finance for project development from the company," Sitaula added.