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Kathmandu-Terai/Madhesh Fast Track Road Project, Nepal

A mega highway in Nepal being constructed by the Army threatens displacement of indigenous Newar settlements in Khokana and Bungamati from their lands and livelihoods and their cultural and historical sites in south of Kathmandu.


Kathmandu-Terai/Madhes Fast Track (Expressway) Project is a mega highway project considered as an “infrastructure of national pride” being constructed in Nepal [1]. The 72.5 km long Fast Track runs along the Bagmati River corridor and is expected to cut the travel distance from the capital Kathmandu to the south of the country by 159 km as per existing roads. The Fast Track originates at Sano Khokana of Lalitpur Metropolitan City (south of Kathmandu) and stretches to Nijghad in Bara district in Nepal’s southern plains (known as Terai/Madhes). There it will meet with the East-West (Mahendra) Highway of the country. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kathmandu-Terai/Madhesh Fast Track Road Project, Nepal
State or province:Lalitpur district, Province No. 3
Location of conflict:Khokana and Bungamati
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Military installations
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Government of Nepal has adopted off-the-cuff approach since the beginning of the project when it first invited the Expression of Interest (EOI) for implementing the Kathmandu Terai Fast Track Road in 1996. Back then, it intended to acquire land only and trust the rest of the responsibilities to a concessionaire under a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model without a governing act. In 2008, the Government offered only toll-based concession for the project, which was changed in 2012 when it agreed to provide grant up to 15% of the capital costs in subsidies. In 2014, the Government accepted unsolicited proposal for the project from the Indian company named Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Service (IL&FS) that requested minimum vehicle guarantee scheme on the Expressway. But, subsequently, it re-advertised for bids for the project.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project1,751,900,000.00
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:10,000 - 12,000
Start of the conflict:18/02/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Soosung Engineering and Consulting from Republic of Korea - prepared the Detailed Project Report of the Fast Track highway
Relevant government actors:Officer of the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers
Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport
Ministry of Defence
Nepali Army
Kathmandu-Terai/Madhesh Fast Track Road Project
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Janasarokar Samuha (Public Concerns Group), Khokana
Nepal Sanskritik Punarjagaran Samiti (Nepal Cultural Revitalization Committee), Khokana
Save Nepa Valley movement
Local and national EJOs
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsThe EIA report of the Fast Track cautions for potential increase in health problems around Khokana area due to construction of interchange/toll booths, which will become a commercial and busy parking facility
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Cultural impacts of the Fast Track project in Khokana, Nepali Times, 2016
[click to view]

NEPAL: Kathmandu-Terai expressway alignment should be changed to preserve arable land and local heritage, Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 23 March 2018
[click to view]

Nepal: Stop the Use of Violence to the Indigenous Newar Community and Uphold their Rights to Peaceful Assembly, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), 2 April 2018
[click to view]

“Our land is us, we are our land”, Nepali Times, 4 May 2018
[click to view]

Fast Track brings fear of displacement to Khokana, Supriya Manandhar, The Record, 19 March 2018
[click to view]

Army to complete Kathmandu-Terai expressway in three and half years, The Rising Nepal, 28 August 2019
[click to view]

Khokana Newars file complaint to NHRC over human rights violations in land acquisition for Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track Highway, CEMSOJ, 26 September 2016
[click to view]

Locals obstruct transmission line tower work in Khokana, The Himalayan Times, 2 May 2019
[click to view]

Life in the fast lane, Ayushma Bashnyat, The Kathmandu Post, 21 January 2019
[click to view]

Eurasia Review - Seizing ‘The Belt And Road’ Opportunity: Challenges For Nepal

June 24, 2017
[click to view]

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)’s Solidarity Statement to the Activists and Indigenous Newar Community in Kathmandu, AIPP, 2 April 2018
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Nepal Sanskritik Punarjagran Aviyan - नेपाल सांस्कृतिक पुनर्जागरण अभियान
[click to view]

Save Nepa Valley
[click to view]

Save Nepa Valley movement
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Prabindra Shakya, Community Empowerment and Social Justice (CEMSOJ) Network, [email protected]
Last update18/12/2019
Conflict ID:4864
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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