Minister falsely claims credit for Mahendra Highway widening work
Injina Panthi / January 3, 2019
Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ragubir Mahaseth speaking on the ‘Janta Janna Chahanchan’ program aired on Prime Times television, on December 30, 2018 said:
“We will complete widening the Mahendra Highway in four years. None of the past governments had tried to widen the two-lane highway to four lanes but Prime Minister KP Oli, immediately after assuming office, instructed us to widen the highway saying ‘two lanes are not enough’. So we are widening the highway to six lanes in the urban areas and to four lanes elsewhere.”
South Asia Check has looked into Minister Mahaseth’s claim.
It was actually the then finance minister and Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat, who had in the budget for the fiscal year 2015/16, announced funds for widening the Mahendra Highway to four lanes.
Similarly, the five-year (2073-78 BS) strategic plan prepared by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport in 2015, also has mentioned about upgrading the Mahendra Highway also known as 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.
These facts show that Minister Mahaseth’s claim is misplaced.
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