Locals blame authorities of financial irregularity in construction of isolation centre in DailekhThe 50-bed isolation facility built a month ago has a leaking roof and weak walls, say locals.
The locals of Tartang village in Narayan Municipality Ward No. 1, Dailekh, have raised concerns over possible financial irregularities in the construction of a one-storey isolation centre. According to locals, the isolation centre, which was built a month ago, has been poorly constructed with its roof already leaking and water seeping through the walls.
“A lot of money was spent by the local government to construct the prefab building but it’s becoming obvious that the contractor has cut corners,” said Shailesh Thapa, a local man.
The building, which is said to hold 50 people at a time, was built at a total cost of Rs 7.2 million. According to the municipality, Rs 3 million from the Lawmaker Infrastructure Development Programme, Rs 2.5 million from the Ward Office and Rs 1.7 million from the Mahabu Road Project were diverted to construct the isolation building.
There are 19 individuals staying in the centre. A 35-year-old Covid-19 patient staying in the facility said, “We have to move our beds from one corner to the other when it rains. Staying here is making us sicker.”
On June 21, the municipality had awarded the building construction project to Jessika Constructions in Kathmandu without inviting a tender. Himmat Rokaya, an engineer at the municipality, said, “The construction company completed the construction and handed over the building in mid-July.”
The local people strongly suspect that the municipality and the contractor committed financial irregularities while constructing the building.
“The municipality did not invite a tender before the construction of the building. People’s representatives went ahead with the selection of the contractor. The building was constructed against the Public Procurement Act 2007,” said Thapa, whose house is adjacent to the isolation centre. “More than Rs 7 million has been spent to build this poorly-built one-storey building. It is a lot of money and the budget has been misused here.”
According to Rokaya, the municipality has already paid Rs 5.5 million to the construction company. “The remaining amount will be paid within the running fiscal year,” he said.
When questioned about the standard of the building, Prakash Kumar Budha, a representative of the Jessika Construction, said: “We worked amid high risk to construct the building. There might have been a few faults during the construction since we were under a lot of pressure to complete the project within a short deadline.”
Resham Budha, acting administrative officer of the municipality, said he does not know about the issue.
The Post tried to contact the mayor and deputy mayor of the municipality, but both of their phones were switched off.