Kathmandu, April 12 -- The government's plan to build a tunnel under the hills on the western side of the Kathmandu Valley has been delayed as the paperwork drags on.

Officials of the Roads Department said that the selection of a contractor to implement the project would take a few more weeks.

The Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel will eliminate the need to travel the circuitous route over the Valley's western rim, which is the main overland link between the capital and the southern plains.

Five Chinese and one Japanese firm are vying for the Rs20 billion contract.

They were shortlisted following the global bids invited by the Department of Roads last August . The department is building the 2.45-km tunnel with a soft loan from the Japanese gov...