Most construction projects in west Nawalparasi running lateThe projects are way behind schedule because of the carelessness of the contractors and poor planning.
Most infrastructure construction projects in west Nawalparasi have run into time and cost overruns largely due to delinquent contractors, officials said.
The projects are way behind schedule because of the carelessness of the contractors and poor planning.
According to government officials, the contractors of many projects have been repeatedly extending the completion deadline. Besides, the rush job at the last hour raises questions about the quality of the construction, they said.
In order to make the district headquarters more organised, the government had invited bids to widen 1.5 km of road.
The tenders were evaluated and the contract was awarded. The starting date for the Rs160.80 million construction project was set for June 2017.
But the winning contractor, Mahalakshmi-Sunkoshi Worldwide JV Kathmandu, showed up for work only three and a half years after signing the contract.
The contractor has only started blacktopping the road, fearing that the contract deadline would expire. The last time limit to complete the project was mid-January.
Madhav Katuwal, engineer at Provincial Urban Development and Building Construction, said they did not extend the deadline after work stopped twice.
"As per the law, the government can extend the contract period stated in the agreement by 50 percent at the most," he said. “If the company fails to deliver, it has to pay compensation to the project owner.”
Katuwal said that the time limit of the project was two years, but three and a half years had already passed when the company started work. “So we can’t extend the deadline."
Locals are irate at the delay as they have to travel over the dusty and potholed road due to the unfinished construction work.
Other large projects in the district are also in a similar condition. The construction of the postal road has been delayed for years.
The contract for the construction of the 13-km-long Parasi-Gopiganj section of the postal road was awarded to Kanchenjunga-Beeruva Shivashakti JV for Rs250.19 million.
A number of culverts have been built and gravel has been laid on some sections. Several sections have been blacktopped too. The contractor for the Parasi-Gopiganj postal road project said gravel and sand shortages had held back work.
Construction work started in February 2017 and it was slated to be completed by February 2020.
Work on the 9-km-long Kathhawa-Belatari section of the postal road has also slowed to a crawl.
Pradip Karki, a representative for the contractor for the Kathhawa-Belatari section, said the main reason for the delay was a shortage of gravel and sand.
"We have started work. But we are not getting adequate gravel and sand," Karki said. "We are in constant contact with locals for the supply of the construction materials," he added.
Four years ago, workers started building a suspension bridge over the Narayani River in Susta Rural Municipality-4 , but progress has been dead slow. The project launched in December 2016 with a completion deadline of December 2018.
Trishuli Ashraya JV, the contractor responsible for building the suspension bridge, had also gone out of contact.
According to Ashok Kumar Mandal, engineer for the bridge project, only 10 percent of the work has been completed.
The contractor said that they have to hire Indian technicians because all the work cannot be done by Nepali workers. Covid-19 prevented them from bringing the technicians which caused the delay, the contractor said.
Ram Prasad Pandey, chairman of Susta Rural Municipality-4, said they re-started work last December after summoning the contractor that had gone absent.
“The federal, provincial and local governments have issued directives to expedite the construction work,” he said.
The Narayangarh-Butwal Road Expansion Project is also facing delays. The project said that workers had almost finished cutting the trees in the western section of Daune.
With the approval of the Tilottama Sub-Divisional Forest Office of Rupandehi, 5,600 trees have been cut down.
The project has obtained approval to cut down 10,000 trees from Bardaghat to Butwal in the western section of the Narayangarh-Butwal Road Expansion Project.
Yuvraj Pandey, information officer of the project's western section, said that 3,000 trees remain to be cut down. “We have planned to cut the rest of the trees in a few days. Work has been held up due to the pandemic and the delay in issuing the permit to cut the trees," he said.
But Pandey emphasised that construction work on the bridges and culverts had gained momentum. As per the plan, 30 new bridges need to be built in Daune West, including nine big and 21 small bridges.
The project said that 246 culverts have to be built on the Narayangarh-Butwal road.