Among the 17 ongoing projects financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), only two—Melamchi Water Supply Project and South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (Sasec) power system expansion project—have achieved good performance, an ADB document prepared to review its portfolio has revealed.

    Meanwhile, the $75-million air transport capacity enhan- cement project, or Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) improvement project, and the $200-million emergency earthquake assistance project have been declared problematic due to hitches in implementation. The airport project has met only 2 percent of the disbursement target, the development bank said during the second 2016 Tripartite Portfolio Review Meeting held here on Thursday.

    The meeting has identified two impediments—poor contractor and local consultant performance and non-availability of a quarry site to supply materials to expand TIA.

    “Construction works at TIA have been stopped from last year’s earthquake and subsequent fuel shortage,” said Sanjiv Gautam, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. “We have given the contractor a deadline of July 15 to resume work at the international terminal building,” he told the meeting.

    In response, Kenichi Yokoyama, ADB Country Director for Nepal, said that they had agreed to terminate the contract if the contractor did not resume work.

    The project has been prevented from extracting sand from the Pashupati area due to a court case, and Tourism Ministry officials said that they needed to wait for the final verdict. “Hence, we cannot set any dates for the resumption of work as the case is under judicial consideration,” said Suresh Achar-ya, joint secretary at the Tour-ism Ministry. “But we will move to fast-track the issue.”

    The project’s original completion deadline of 2015 was moved forward to 2016, but after that looked unlikely to be achieved, the time limit was again extended to 2018. The physical progress of the project has been recorded at 17 percent only.

    The progress report of the $200-million emergency earthquake assistance project is in even worse. The ADB document shows only 5 percent of the contract award target of $66 million has been met. “The school component is a major concern, and we request the Department of Education to urgently deploy a project manager (engineer) dedicated to the ADB project and expedite recruitment of supervision consultants and work procurement,” said Yokoyama.

    The ADB said apart from the two problematic projects, the Melamchi Water Supply Project and Sasec power system expansion project have achieved good performance.

    “The Melamchi project with a completion deadline of October 2017 is becoming a reality,” he said. “Likewise, the Sasec power expansion project has already achieved 74 percent of the annual contract award target.”

    However, looking at the ADB’s overall portfolio, of the $1.72 billion investment grants and loans, 57 percent is still to be awarded and 74 percent is still to be disbursed at the start of 2016. “Both are trailing behind the ADB’s average by 10 percent, reflecting much slower project implementation,” Yokoyama said. As of June-end, 38 percent of the contract award and 30 percent of the disbursement target have been met, he added.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post