Road department to not allow digging on urban roads during rainy seasonDespite the notice, roads will be dug up to lay pipes under the Melamchi Drinking Water project, officials say.
The Department of Roads has notified that it will not approve new plans to dig up roads under the ambit of the federal government during the three months of the rainy season.
In a notice issued on Tuesday, the department’s Federal Road Supervision and Monitoring Office said that permission to dig up the road to install or fix water supply and drainage pipes, and electricity and telephone lines will not be granted between June 15 to September 16.
Rajendra Raj Sharma, chief of the Federal Road Supervision and Monitoring Office, said his office will not approve any request for digging up roads after mid-June, and only those who have already received approval, can continue their work.
“The move is not intended towards halting road projects, but towards stopping people from digging up roads during the rainy season when the road is covered in mud and becomes difficult to walk on,” he said. He said that the decision was taken as roads cannot be restored immediately after they are dug up, the condition of the surface worsens..
Ritesh Shakya, spokesperson for the Ministry of Water Supply, said that the road department usually has to reconsider its decision when water leaks from pipes.
“In the Kathmandu valley, the existing distribution network under Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited is very old and 40 percent of the water leaks,” said Shakya. “That’s why, we have to dig up the road even during the rainy season.”
He said that despite the notification, some roads could be dug to lay new pipes under the Melamchi Drinking Water Project as work on the distribution network has not been completed yet. The government plans to start supplying water from the country’s biggest drinking water project by the end of 2020.
Officials allege that contractors start digging up roads during the rainy season just to spend their budget as the fiscal year comes to a close during the rainy season. Work related to water supply and electricity also take place during the same period. So, there is a tendency to dig up roads right after they are laid or repaired.
Although the road department has been issuing such notices almost every year, it has been allowing contractors to dig up roads even during the rainy season.
During the current fiscal year, the country has been under a lockdown since March 24. So, work on most development projects has been on standstill.
The government wants to speed up construction activities even though the rainy season is approaching. So, the government last month relaxed the lockdown rules for nearly four dozen sectors, including construction.
But, officials said that they are facing the shortage of workers and construction materials to continue work. “We have upgraded many roads in Kathmandu in recent months, but work on the Chabahil-Gaushala section has been badly affected after sand and gravel supplies were disrupted,” said Sharma.