Flood exposes bridge scandal in BardiyaThe people of Gulariya and Barbardiya have vented frustration as the Bardiya district authorities have not initiated a probe into the alleged use of substandard materials in a bridge that was damaged by the Babai river floods recently.
The people of Gulariya and Barbardiya have vented frustration as the Bardiya district authorities have not initiated a probe into the alleged use of substandard materials in a bridge that was damaged by the Babai river floods recently.
The bridge at Jabadighat, which was completed just two years earlier, caved in as a result of flood on August 12. Movement of vehicles along the Gulariya-Rammapur road, which links northern Bardiya with the East-West Highway, has been obstructed as a result.
The public claim is that the contractor, Pappu Construction, had used substandard materials while building the 435 metres long bridge—an issue which the people had raised while the project was still in progress.
The bridge construction was briefly halted when the chief district officer at the time, Binod Bahadur Kunwar, intervened upon suspicions that the building materials used in the bridge construction were of inferior quality and the approved design itself was not being followed by the contractor. People say the bridge was completed despite the protest and controversy. Pappu Construction never faced any charges and it received the go-ahead to see the project through. There are rumours that the company used political influence to skip punishment.
Engineers and technicians, who inspected the damaged bridge recently, have confirmed that the foundation of the bridge was in fact built with substandard materials. The bridge was undermined because the structure was poorly built.
The enraged people are not content with the District Administration Office’s assurance that it would launch an investigation. It has been weeks and nothing has been done so far. People suspect that once again Pappu Construction is using its political clout to get away scot-free.
A delegation, led by Mayor of Gulariya Municipality Durga Bahadur Chaudhary, recently visited the Department of Roads in Kathmandu to exert pressure for investigation. The delegation has warned of a protest if its demand is not fulfilled.