India-aided projects move at snail’s pace in Nepal

December 31st, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Dec 31 (IANS) India-aided projects have been moving at a snail’s pace in Nepal with only about one-fourth of the schemes being completed in three years, the Himalayan republic’s finance ministry has said.The ministry Monday held a meeting with Indian officials in Kathmandu to review the ongoing projects, during which it said a large number of small development projects, a mega border project and a soft loan pledge have failed to take off.

Nepal says though India promised to develop a 1,500-km road network in the Terai plains in southern Nepal, a year later, no concrete work has been undertaken.

Also, India pledged a $100-million soft loan through its Exim Bank, which was to have been spent by Nepal on building roads and power projects. However, though work has begun and documents forwarded, the money is yet to be disbursed.

The most lacklustre performance has been noted in the case of the small development projects that, following a bilateral agreement between the two governments in 2003, were to be implemented by local government agencies.

India says the programme was created to avoid bureaucratic delays, cut overhead costs and see that cent percent of the funding reached the grassroots.

However, as per the review, only 46 of the 201 small development projects have been completed in the last three years.

The small projects, which have a maximum ceiling of Rs.50 million, are mostly earmarked for education, health, electrification and infrastructure.

Recently, such projects have generated criticism.

A 25-bed hospital meant to benefit women in eastern Nepal, built with Indian aid, was reported to be lying disused for almost a year, while a village school collapsed and a drinking water supply project failed to reach the villagers as there was no pipeline.

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