Gorkha folk struggle to transport essentials with road upgrade work incompleteThe deadline was extended to mid-June 2023 but the road project is nowhere near completion.
The road upgrade work of the 13km stretch from Barpak to Gupsipakha in Laprak is left in a limbo. The work remains incomplete due to the negligence of contractors, according to the Infrastructure Development Office.
In May 2020, the office struck a deal with the construction company Sharma/Bikash JV, which agreed to complete the work within two years. After the company failed to abide by the agreement, the project’s deadline was extended to mid-June 2023.
The deadline is just two and a half months away but only around 48 percent of physical work of the project has been completed so far, according to Dipak Basnet, an engineer at the Infrastructure Development Office in Gorkha. “The contractor has been delaying the project under various pretexts,” Basnet said.
The project agreement had it that the Barpak-Laprak road should be widened to seven metres with the construction of roadside drainage. The contract was awarded to the company for Rs341.5 million.
Kisan Gurung, ward chair of Dharche Rural Municipality-4, said the local residents are worried about the delay of the project and have urged the contractor and concerned authorities for timely completion.
The contractor was not seen at the construction site for a year, Gurung said. “Around 15 to 20 workers started working a few days ago due to our continuous pressure,” he said. “How can only 20 workers complete the project within two months?”
According to Gurung, the people’s representatives and the locals asked the contractor to increase the number of workers and complete the work before the rainy season.
The local people have been hugely affected as passenger buses have not been able to operate along the road section.
“The road is in a pathetic condition,” Gurung said. “Vehicles cannot run along the road in the rainy season if it remains the same. The villagers have had to endure hardship.”
The road stretches up to Machhakhola, the administrative centre of Dharche Rural Municipality in the northern part of Gorkha. The project was aimed to help local people transport daily essentials.
Stakeholders, however, are sceptical about the completion of the project within the extended deadline.
The area has difficult geography and the winter snowfall hampered work, Basnet said. “Then there were multiple landslides that further damaged the road stretch,” he said.