The government’s policy and programmes has spelled out its priorities regarding infrastructure development, energy, agriculture and irrigation, tourism, basic drinking water facilities, development of forest product based industries and forestry management, promotion of agriculture and irrigation, among the various sectors of the economy.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari presented the government’s policy and programmes for the fiscal year 2020/21 in the joint session of both houses of the Federal Parliament on Friday.
Infrastructure development: The government is to give priority to infrastructure development including road, bridges and water supply in the next fiscal year. It is stated that the basis would be created for production sectors as agriculture and industry, for promotion of employment and for the development of energy, road, irrigation and urban infrastructures to contribute to high economic growth in the coming fiscal year. New infrastructures would be built in places lacking essential infrastructures and the capacity of the existing infrastructures would be expanded and their quality and standard improved.
It is stated in the policy and programmes that 3,663 kilometres road has been black topped and 325 bridges constructed after the formation of the present government. In the next fiscal year 300 bridges would be built and 155 kilometres of the Madan Bhandari Highway would be blacktopped. The construction of this highway would be completed within five years.
Similarly, the East-West Highway would be developed into a four-lane express highway. The construction of Kathmandu-Tarai Fast-track would be completed within the next three years. Ninety kilometres of the Kaligandaki corridor highway would be black topped in the next three years while the track of the Koshi and Karnali corridor roads would be opened upgraded. Construction of one kilometres of the 2.68 kilometres Nagdhunga tunnelway would be completed.
The initial works for the construction of the Rasuwagadhi-Kathmandu railway and Birgunj-Kathmandu railway would be started. Construction of Kakarbhitta-Inaruwa section of the East-West electric railway project would be started. The public transport would be made passenger-friendly, convenient, reliable and secure in the next fiscal year. The government would promote electricity-driven transportation system. Transport Authority would be set up to regulate the transportation system. Towards water transport, preparation has been made for operating Nepal’s own flag-carrier ship up to the sea via the internal waterway of India. Legal provisions would be made for operating Nepali ship for international trade from the next fiscal year. The Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali waterways would be developed linking them with India’s internal waterway.
Energy development: Energy and water resources has been given major priority in the government’s policy and programmes for the next fiscal year. Programmes have been brought to support the implementation of the ‘Bright Nepal’ concept initiated by the government. The government’s policy and programmes includes construction of some big projects aimed at building one mega project in each State. The government aims to produce 3,000 Megawatts electricity within the next fiscal year. The total installed power in the central grid at present is 1,386 Megawatts. Electricity has been made available to 852 thousand households in the last two years since the formation of the NCP-led present government. There is the target of having total electrification in all States in the next two years. Similarly, 200 solar mini grids would be installed in areas where the national grid and extension system has not reached.
An integrated water resources policy would be prepared for the multi-dimensional utilisation of water resources. Special work would be carried out for development of the energy sector. For this, like in the previous year the government will keep the ‘Nepal’s Water, People’s Investment’ programme in special priority and move ahead the development of hydroelectricity projects accordingly. Twenty one projects have been included in this programme. Similarly, the government will start the construction of the 1,200 Megawatts capacity Budhigandaki project and the 750-Megawatts capacity West Seti project. Both are the national pride projects. Similarly, construction of Tamor and Dudhkoshi reservoir projects would be started in the next fiscal year. The construction of the multi-purpose Pancheshwor reservoir project would be started by preparing its detailed project report after necessary agreement with India.
The government has also given priority to construction of internal and inter-country transmission line in its policy and programmes for the next fiscal year. Construction of Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa, the Kaligandaki, Marsyangdi, Koshi, Bheri corridor transmission lines have been prioritized. Similarly, construction of the 400-kV capacity Lapsiphedi, Ratmate, Tanahu, Butwal transmission line would be started. Construction of transmission lines above 66Kv capacity has been given priority with the target to construct 5,730 circuit kilometres of transmission line.
Likewise, the topic of making the necessary initiative for power trade with Bangladesh and India is also included in the government’s policy and programmes. Charging stations would be constructed on the highway for the promotion of electric vehicles. River diversion project would also be started keeping the irrigation projects in special priority.
Irrigation projects: It is stated in the government’s policy and programme that construction of the Sikta, Bheri Babai irrigation projects would be completed in the next fiscal year. The western main canal of the Sikta Irrigation Project would be brought into operation and irrigation would be expanded to 7,500 hectares land by expanding the branch canal of the Rani Jamara Kulariya Irrigation Project. Works on expansion of the main canal of the Mahakali Irrigation Project and the Praganna and Badkapath Irrigation Project would be expedited.
Construction of the dam and tunnel of the Sunkoshi Marin Diversion Project would be started with the target of providing irrigation facility on 122 thousand hectares of land in State-2. A ‘prosperous Tarai Madhes special programme’ would be implemented for irrigating additional 18,500 hectares land by using the surface and underground irrigation system in the agriculture pocket areas of the Tarai-Madhes region. Study would be carried out for the development of Tamor Chisang, Madi Dang and Kaligandaki Tinau diversion projects and move ahead these projects on the basis of feasibility and priority. Works on the Triyuga river control would also be forwarded.
Agriculture production to be doubled in 10 years
The government’s policy and programmes states that the agricultural production would be doubled in the next 10 years by pooling the government, public, range and uncultivated land. Last year’s policy and programme has envisaged to meet this target in five years. As per government’s data, nearly 3.1 million hectares land is uncultivated. It is stated in the policy and programmes that the production needed to be doubled by utilising the uncultivated land to the maximum extent to meet the food shortage, to provide work to the unemployed youths, to reduce dependency on agriculture produce and to minimise the foreign trade deficit. It is estimated that nearly 2 million youths are unemployed.
The government has adopted the policy of modernization, commercialization and mechanization of the agriculture system through the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernization Project. The policy and programmes has set the target of attaining self-sufficiency in paddy, wheat, maize, fresh vegetables, meat and fish in the coming 10 years. Six million metric tonnes paddy is required to feed the country’s existing population. Five million two hundred thousand metric tonnes paddy was produced in the country this year. Similarly, 900 thousand metric tonnes of wheat and 1.2 million metric tonnes of maize is produced annually in Nepal. The government has also prioritised making agriculture income-oriented, self-dependent and dignified profession, improving the agricultural roads, modernization of the Agriculture Knowledge Centres and enhancing the access and supply of agriculture inputs.
Revitalizing tourism: The government has given special priority for the revival of the tourism sector of the country which has been badly dented by the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic. For this, tourism revival and sustainable tourism programme would be implemented.
It is stated in the government’s policy and programmes for the fiscal year 2020/21 that the government had to shelve the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign initiated with the objective of bringing in 2 million tourists due to the impact of COVID-19. The tourists arrival is found to have reached 1.1 million.
The runway of the country’s only international airport, the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, has been repaired and upgraded after 40 years. This airport would be fully developed into a boutique airport in the next year. Similarly, construction of the Nijgadh International Airport in Bara, a national pride project would be started. The airport would cover an area of 8,000 hectares and it would have a 3,600 metres long and 45 metres wide runway.
It is stated in the policy and programmes that the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa would be brought into operation from the coming fiscal year. About 90 per cent of the physical construction works of this airport are completed. This airport has 3,000 metres long and 45 metres wide runway. Its estimated cost is about Rs 7.32 billion. The construction of Pokhara International Airport would also be completed within the next fiscal year and preparations would be made to bring it into operation soon.
The runways of additional eight domestic airports have been blacktopped so far and night flights have been operated from eight airports. Construction of two more domestic airports would be completed next fiscal year. The runway of three more airports would be blacktopped.
Water supply: Basic level drinking water would be provided to 94 per cent of the population in the next fiscal year. Drinking water would be reached to all households within the next three years with the joint investment of the federal, State and local level governments. Works have been expedited for the completion of the Melamchi Water Supply Project to meet the water demands in the Kathmandu Valley at the earliest. The entire construction of this project would be completed within the coming fiscal year. The government will carry out detailed study on the development of wholesale distribution system and reservoir type water supply system based on the Mahakali, Karnali, Babai, Koshi and other rivers for making the supply of potable water sustainable.
Industries based on forest products to be promoted
Similarly, it is stated in the government’s policy and programmes for the next fiscal year that the government established 1,829 small and cottage industries based on forest products in the last two years. In the coming fiscal year also, the government plans to conserve forests as per the policy of multi-use of forests by minimising the environmental risks by means of forest protection, massive afforestation programme and forest diversification. It is stated that the domestic timber production has increased which has helped reduce timber import by 20 per cent. Forty per cent forest is being managed by the community. The government has brought several programmes for the development of the forest and environment sector. The infrastructure for herbs processing industries would be developed in all the States.
Source: National News Agency