June 19: Though most of the pride projects of Province 1 introduced in the current fiscal year (2020/21) are yet to be implemented, the provincial government has given continuity to them while also announcing some new projects and programmes in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Some of the projects that the provincial government fail to start their implementation include national pride projects.
Minister for Economic Affairs and Planning of Province 1, Tanka Angbuhang, introduced the budget of Rs 32.46 billion for the coming fiscal year, down from Rs. 40.89 billion allocated for the current fiscal year.
The budget for the upcoming fiscal year that was unveiled on Tuesday is under discussion in the provincial assembly.
Economic Affairs and Planning Minister Angubhang plans to tap fiscal transfers from the federal government as the main source of income to finance his budget. Due to the Covid-19, the provincial government has prioritized the health sector in its spending plan. While many projects and programmes mentioned in the budget statement of the current fiscal year suffer budget shortage, the provincial government came up with new projects for the upcoming fiscal year.
The construction of the Ravi-Ranke Tourist Route from Bhedetar to Miklajung has not started yet. Likewise, the Damak-Chisapani-Ravi Falgunand road, which was also announced in the budget as a pride project, did not see any progress due to the lack of the budget. ‘Baraha Bijaypur Circuit and Shakti Peeth Circuit also face similar fate.
Although the budget was allocated for the construction of the Ring rRad connecting the historic palace of Birat King of Jhapa, Itahari, Dharan and Inaruwa of Sunsari and Biratnagar of Morang in the current fiscal year, the provincial government could not even conduct its feasibility study.
Targeting the tourist area, the plan to build a road from Udayapur, Khotang, Sankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu to Ranitar-Pancha-Chakhewa-salpadilichung to Sagarmatha and Makalu base camp also remains unimplemented. There has not been much progress in the first phase of road construction connecting base camps of Mount Everest and Makalu.
The announcement to start a study for the construction of an international conference center in Itahari and an exhibition venue in Dharan is limited in the budget speech.
The government, which has allocated Rs 430 million in the youth and sports sector, has not been able to form even a province-level sports council.
The ‘People’s Medical Education Fund’ to provide easy access to loans without collateral to the students from poor families to study MBBS has also been limited to the announcement.
Although the process to promote investment by forming an investment board led by the Chief Minister has started, establishment of a special economic zone (SEZ) in the province has not seen any progress. Although the government allocated the budget to generate 200 MW of electricity from solar energy, no progress has been made towards that end.
The announcement of the provincial government to build charging stations at necessary places to encourage the use of electric vehicles has also been limited to the budget only. The announcement for the construction of the People's War Memorial Museum at Belbari in Morang along with the construction of the foundations in the name of the martyrs, missing persons, politicians and people's leaders of the people's revolution has not been implemented.