Pappu Construction leaves a bridge incomplete over the Trishuli riverHundreds in Tanglichok, Makaisingh, Batase and the surrounding areas in Gorkha have been affected by the construction delay.
The construction of a bridge over the Trishuli river near Prithvi Highway took off some five years ago. Fast forward to today and the construction site wears an abandoned look, with construction materials stacked up and scattered around. Not a single worker has been spotted in the construction site for the past two years, say locals.
The company behind the construction of the bridge is Pappu Construction, notorious for grabbing a large number of projects but not completing them on time. “The representatives of the construction company have even stopped receiving our phone calls,” said Hom Bahadur Rana, chairman of Gandaki Rural Municipality in Gorkha.
Pappu Construction was awarded the contract to construct the bridge back in June 2014 at the total cost of 174.6 million. According to the contract, the construction company had to complete the construction by January 1, 2018. Upon completion, the bridge will connect Buttar of Gandaki in Gorkha to Chumkhola along the Prithvi Highway in Chitwan district.
“The deadline for the bridge construction expired around two years ago. Only 11 percent of the work has been completed so far,” said Rabindra Lal Das, chief of the Egharkilo-Barpak-Bhaluswara Road Office.
The construction company had already received 10 percent of the total contract amount. “We sought to retrieve the amount from the company. But the company filed a case at the court,” said Das.
“The contractor claimed that it could not carry out the bridge project because it needed a heavy machine to drill hard rock in the construction site and that they could not take the machine across the river due to the lack of a bridge,” said Das.
According to Das, the road office is planning to extend the project deadline by June 4, 2020. “But the construction company has not produced the necessary documents and have been out of contact. We are thinking of other alternatives,” Das added.
Hundreds of people of Tanglichok, Makaisingh, Batase and the surrounding area in Gorkha have been affected by the construction delay. “The locals have to use either the bridge in Benighat or go through Gorkha bazaar to reach the Prithvi Highway. It’s almost an additional two hours ride,” said Rana. The local farmers have been affected the most by the absence of the bridge, since they have to carry their produce all the way to Prithvi Highway to reach their consumers.