The government is set to miss the target of completing the track opening of two national priority roads — Mid-Hill Highway and Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track — within this fiscal year. The project has run aground due to failure to resolve land compensation issues, geographical difficulties and lack of support from locals. The government’s Immediate Action Plan unveiled in January had aimed to finish the track opening by mid-July when the fiscal year ends. The two road projects have recently been accorded National Highway status. According to the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management, 25 km of track remains to be opened on the western section of the Mid-Hill Highway project while only 52 km of track has been opened out of the 76-km length of the Tarai Fast Track. The Nepal Army has been engaged in the track opening project. Ministry officials said that the target set for opening 20 km of track in Jajarkot was not achievable. “Track opening work in the western section is going on,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the Physical Planning Ministry. “However, it looks like only 5 km of track in Rukum will be completed within the current fiscal year.” About three weeks ago, the government had completed the track opening work in the eastern section. Meanwhile, track opening for the Tarai Fast Track has speeded up compared to last year with the government distributing land compensation to the locals of Makwanpur district where the longest stretch of the expressway falls. Despite the progress made this year, the plan to complete the track opening has become undoable as the problem of acquiring land for an 8 km stretch in Khokana in Lalitpur district remains unresolved. The Physical Planning Ministry said that the landowners of Lalitpur have been demanding a hefty compensation. “We are conducting a survey for an alternative to the alignment passing through Khokana,” said Dinesh Prakash Basnet, project manager of the Fast Track. He added that if the compensation distribution went smoothly, track opening would be completed in Makwanpur in the current fiscal year. With a total length of 1,767 km, the Mid-Hill Highway connects Chiyo Bhanjyang of Panchthar district in the east with Jhulaghat of Baitadi district in the west. It passes through 12 zones, 24 districts and 215 village development committees. The Ministry of Finance has set a budget ceiling of Rs 2 billion for the project for the next fiscal year.