The federal government’s plan for an industrial estate in Karnali province has not moved beyond location-scouting and feasibility study in the past five years.
Search for a suitable place for the project development began not long after the federal government announced the plan to build industrial estates in each of the seven provinces. But five years down the line, the location for the proposed industrial estate is yet to be decided.
Two locations were initially proposed—first at Satakhani and the second at Lekbesi, both in Surkhet. But the subsequent feasibility studies rejected both the sites. Two years elapsed in the process.
Two other sites—Chhinchu in Surkhet and Chupra in Dailekh—were next considered. This time, Chhinchu was proposed as an ideal site for the industrial estate, as it had a good highway and electricity access. But the proposal was never followed through.
There have been several inspections and studies for a potential project site, but none has been approved, says Jiva Narayan Banjade of Industrial District Management Limited, Birendranagar.
“The plan for the industrial estate has been limited to pow-wows and proposals,” he says. “Without confirming the project site, we can’t tell if or when the project will start.”
Industrialists in Surkhet say lack of coordination between the federal and provincial governments has also caused the delay in project development.
They say their repeated requests to the authorities at both federal and provincial levels to expedite the project have gone unheard. They even drew the attention of the President, Vice President, prime minister and chief minister to the problem, but to no avail.
The concerned industrialists say that the federal government announced the plan, but it didn’t deem it necessary to coordinate with the provincial government for its execution. The provincial government also didn’t take the initiative to see the project through.
The Karnali provincial government has instead proposed its own plan for an industrial area.
“We were working on our own plan for an industrial estate in Karnali province last year, so we could not coordinate on the federal government’s project,” says Sher Bahadur Shahi, information officer at the provincial Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Forest and Environment.