Construction of half dozen bridges left incomplete in KhotangDevelopment activities have not gained momentum in the district due to delay in the bridges’ construction.
The construction of half a dozen bridges has been left incomplete in Khotang. According to the District Coordination Committee, those bridges fall under the Mid Hill Highway, Sagarmatha Highway and other district-based roads.
The construction of a bridge over the Sunkoshi river in Phoksingtar along the Sagarmatha Highway was started some six years ago but is yet to complete.
“The contractor had agreed to complete the construction within four years of the project’s start but only 40 percent of the work has been completed so far,” said Kailash Dev, the project manager at Bridge Project Eastern Sector No.1. “The total cost of the bridge’s construction is Rs 180 million. We have asked the contractor to complete the construction by the end of the running fiscal year.”
Ram Kumar Thapa, a representative of Gauri Parbati Construction, the contractor company, says the bridge’s construction was delayed due to delays in passing the design of the bridge.
“There was a delay in getting the design for the bridge passed from the Department of Roads,” he said. “The pandemic has caused further delays.”
Likewise, the construction work of a bridge that connects Udayapur and Khotang districts in Dhaplang is also going at snail’s pace. According to Dev, only 20 percent of the bridge’s construction work has been completed so far.
Jayaram Lamichhane, a representative of Swochhanda Construction Services, the contractor company, said, “We were supposed to complete the construction of the bridge by the end of the last fiscal year. But we could not complete the work due to delays in verification of the bridge design.”
The total cost of the bridge is Rs 220 million.
Locals complained that development activities have not gained momentum in the district due to the delay in construction of bridges at Phoksingtar, Dhaplang Ghat and various parts of the Mid Hill Highway. Khus Narayan Saiju, chairman of Khotang Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “We have to transport construction materials to Khotang from Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts. It is difficult to transport construction materials due to the lack of a motorable bridge in Phoksingtar along the Sagarmatha Highway.”
Raju Layalu, a resident of Diktel, said the delay in the bridges’ construction has affected almost all development activities, as there’s no direct transportation facility in Khotang. “The concerned authorities should take initiatives to complete the construction work of the bridges soon. The government should be serious in this regard.”
The construction of four bridges along the Bajhechyandanda-Diktel road section of the Mid Hill Highway has also been left unattended. The bridges at Pankhukhola, Bhulkekhola and Tawakhola are incomplete whereas the tender process of the bridges at Bhalukhola, Chhepekhola and Mewakhola has not even started, said Dev.
Karna Khatri, a local contractor working for a bridge project in Tawakhola, said that construction work of the bridges has been affected due to the shortage of workers during the pandemic.