Announcement to widen East-West highway was made by Congress-led govt

South Asia Check / November 24, 2017

Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat (left) and CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli (right) at the FNCCI function on November 20.                                                                                                      Photo:

Speaking at the ‘national economic debate’ organized by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry on November 20, CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli said:

 “When I announced plan to upgrade East-West highway into six lanes, we didn’t have funds for the work but still we went ahead with the project. Now the United States is set to provide Rs 500 billion for the project through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)”.

However Nepali Congress leader and former foreign minister Ram Sharan Mahat, who shared the podium with Oli at the function, claimed that it was the Nepali Congress-led government which actually started the highway widening work.

South Asia Check has examined the claims made by Oli and Mahat.

The East-West highway is being expanded into four-lanes, not six lanes as claimed by Oli.

In the budget for the fiscal year 2015/2016 presented in parliament, the then finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat had announced that funds would be allocated for starting the upgrade of the East-West Highway into four lanes.

Likewise, the budget for the succeeding fiscal year 2016/2017 presented by Bishnu Paudel, the finance minister under the KP Oli-led government, stated that the East-West Highway would be developed as a modern and safe highway.

Similarly, the five-year (2073-78 BS) strategic plan prepared by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, also has mention of upgrading the East-West highway. According to the strategic plan, the detailed project report (DPR) for the 588 km Kakarbhitta-Butwal section would be completed in two years and upgrading of the section into a four-lane expressway would be completed within another five years. Furthermore, the strategic plan envisages preparing the DPR for the 439 km Butwal-Gaddachauki section and completing the widening work within five years.

Since the announcement to upgrade the highway into four lanes was made before KP Oli became prime minister, Oli’s claim is wrong.

(This report was prepared by Injina Panthi)

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