Melamchi delays drain treasurySnared in multiple deadline failures and controversies, the much-awaited Melamchi Water Supply Project has been inflicting huge financial burden.
Chandan Kumar Mandal
Snared in multiple deadline failures and controversies, the much-awaited Melamchi Water Supply Project has been inflicting huge financial burden.
Water Supply Minister Bina Magar has said a delay of even one day adds millions of rupees burden to the government.
A delay of one day adds nearly Rs 5.1 million of financial liability to the government.Speaking at a press conference to announce the new deadline for the project, Minister Magar said, “Continuous deadline failures have imposed hefty financial load to the government. We want to end this uncertainty. We want to assure people that water from Melamchi would reach their households at the stipulated time.”
After the new agreement with the project contractor Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna (CMC), the government has claimed that water from Melamchi would be diverted to Sundarijal this September month.
CMC Board of Directors’ representative Paolo Porcelli has given commitment to supply water to Sundarijal before September 30. Speaking on behalf of the company, CMC Asia Deputy Director Sergio Di Giorgio said they would adhere to the agreement and expedite their work.
The ministry said water from Melamchi would reach Kathmandu Valley on October 18, the ninth day of Dashain festival.According to the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board Executive Director Surya Raj Kadel, the contractor is yet to complete invert lining over 20 kms.
The government has made it clear that another failure would mean termination of the contract and it will move ahead with the legal action against the contractor who got the deadline extended up to January 21, 2019.
Giving its partial decision on the matter involving additional time and amount claimed by the contractor, the Dispute Adjudication Board (DAB) recently granted the CMC extra 212 days.
Minister Magar said the DAB has misinterpreted the letter that clearly mentioned the extension of 212 days would begin from June 14, but the DAB has decided that the additional days provided to the contractor would start from June 23.
“We have written to the DAB expressing our dissatisfaction regarding the date. The contractor’s period has been extended only until the DAB final verdict is out. If the decision doesn’t come out with correction, we have decided to go ahead for arbitration,” said Minister Magar.