By Prajwal Shrestha
Nepal is not a rich country having enough funding to invest in the development projects. Therefore, Nepal should select priority projects and utilize the limited resources to complete the priority projects by giving special priority. Of course, we have very limited areas such as water resources, tourism, agriculture, etc… If the government will give special priorityon development of these areas, very soon, Nepal will be transformed into a wealthy nation. This is not a new idea floated by this columnist as each and every economist, policymaker and also the political leader are aware about this fact. Even being so, this columnist has not understood the politics of economics. For tourism development, the topmost priority is construction of international airport in Nijgadh along with construction of a fast-track road linking Kathmandu with Nijgadh. Similarly, topmost priority should be given to complete the Kathmandu-Rasuwagadhi road to promote Nepal-China trade. Diplomatic efforts have to be done to reopen the Khasha trade point. Instead of giving priority to the projects identified as the national glory, the government is constructing above a dozen roads linking the northern border points. Our leaders have not understood that China may not be ready to open many trade-points except from one or two trade-points. China has given priority to the Kerung trade-point and she is considering reopening the Khasha trade-point but China has not given assurance to open other trade-points. Security-wise, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China is a sensitive zone and thus China may not open many trade-points. Without assurance of China, the Nepal government is opening tracks from Tarai districts to our northern border-point. The local political leaders are distributing assurances to the locals by saying that along with opening of the tracks, the trade will start with China via this road. The local leaders are cashing these roads with the local votes. Accordingly, there is a fund which is being spent under the recommendation of the MPs. This fund is being spent mostly for construction of roads in villages. As the amount is very small, such roads are not real roads but only tracks which will be swept away during the rainy season every year. This is, in fact, waste of the government fund. Instead of spending fund in such worthless projects, if invested the entire amount of investment in construction of the Kathmandu-Kerung road, we could have a wide and fast road linking the Chinese trade-point.
When will the most important Nijgadh Airport be operated and when will the Kathmandi-Nijgadh Fast Track will come into operation, only God knows. But the Bhairahawa International Airport is under construction and the Pokhara International Airport’s construction works are also going to startvery soon. If the government is unable to take decision on construction of the Nijgadh International Airport, then why doesn’t the government gives priority in construction of fast-track to Pokhara and also to Bhairahawa so that these two airports could be alternate to the Tribhuwan International Airport, which has already become congested and cannot bear the tourist traffic after some years?
Another thing that has become difficult to understand for this columnist is that when the government has decided to construct fast-track road to Nijgadh, why the government has given permission to the private sector to construct Kathmandu-Hetauda fast track? The distance between Nijgadh and Hetauda is just 52 kms and 32 minute drive. Is there any need to construct another fast track within the distance of 52 kms? I believe, this is also just waste of our valuable resources.
Just recently, I read a report that the minister was inspecting the site to construct an airport in Hetauda. Already, we have an airport in Simara and another airport in Bharatpur and also one in Meghauli within the distance of hardly half an hour from Hetaude. Why do we need to construct an airport in Hetauda instead of bringing full operation to the already operated airports there? From the fund spent to construct an airport in Hetauda, fast track roads could be constructed to link Hetauda with Simara and Bharatpur! These are the things which are difficult to understand in the Nepali economics.