National pride projects stall due to fuel crisisThe construction work of various national pride projects like the Mid-Hill Highway and the 900 MW Upper Karnali besides a number of small hydro projects in Naumule has been affected due to the fuel crisis caused by India’s unofficial blockade.
The construction work of various national pride projects like the Mid-Hill Highway and the 900 MW Upper Karnali besides a number of small hydro projects in Naumule has been affected due to the fuel crisis caused by India’s unofficial blockade.
The Mid-Hill Highway had already stalled due to the negligence of the contractor before the start of the monsoon. The project’s employees have been out of work as the fuel crisis has hindered the construction process. The first phase of the project, digging a track in Dailekh, has not been finished due to a dispute between locals and representatives of the contracting company who remain out of contact.
“The project’s contractors had remained out of contact for almost seven months; and when they did finally get in touch with us, the monsoon started,” said Jagbir Shah, the engineer of the project. “The unrest in the Tarai and the blockade has led to a fuel shortage, and this has become an excuse for the contractors not to resume work.”
Initial work like track opening, removal of landslides, wall making and bridge building that had just started also came to a halt. According to the project’s western office in Tulsipur, the construction work had remained at a complete halt for a year due to the negligence of the contractor.
Meanwhile, various small hydropower projects have also been hit hard by the Indian blockade. The 3.75 MW Dwari Khola and the 4.2 MW Lohore Khola hydro projects have come to a complete stop due to lack of fuel. The Dwari Khola project is scheduled to come into operation in April. However, project officials said that it wouldn’t be completed by the deadline.
Mohan Bikram Karki, board director of Bhugol Energy, the promoter of the project, said that they would be compelled to shut down the project if the supply situation did not improve within a month.
“We have run out of stock of fuel and cement. We need to bring various equipment from India, and they are lying idle,” he said. The employees have returned to their homes on leave.
Indian company GMR has also suffered from the fuel shortage caused by India’s blockade. The construction work and the movement of the workers has been affected by the fuel crisis. GMR has not seen a conducive environment. Work has also stopped on a building which was under construction.
“We are not able to continue the construction of many small projects as the supply of essential goods has been halted by the blockade and prolonged unrest in the Tarai,” said a company employee. As per the contract provisions, Nepal has to provide compensation to the company if the construction work comes to a halt for any reason.