Construction of over two dozen development projects incomplete in OkhaldhungaThe authorities should also check the standard of the construction work rather than only focussing on meeting the deadline, say people’s representatives.
A majority of infrastructure development projects in Okhaldhunga district have failed to meet their deadlines.
Two years have passed since the construction of a bridge over Thotne Khola that connects Rumjatar to Mamkha in Okhaldhunga district began but only 20 percent of the work has so far been completed. Similarly, only 30 percent of the blacktopping of the Sanghutar-Okhaldhunga road has been completed in three years. The project has already missed its deadline.
According to the data of the District Coordination Committee, which oversees development projects in the district, the construction of over two dozen development projects has been left incomplete in Okhaldhunga.
Last week, officials from the District Administration Office, District Coordination Committee, representatives of the contractor companies, project chiefs and people’s representatives, among other stakeholders, held a discussion. The agenda of the meet was to expedite construction works on projects that have been left in a limbo. In the programme held by the District Administration Office, the contractors had promised to complete development projects soon.
However, the people’s representatives who attended the programme believe that the meeting will have no concrete output since the authorities failed to take action against the contractors who are responsible for the delays. Nishant Sharma, chairman of Chisankhugadi Rural Municipality, said, “Such meetings are pointless until the authorities blacklist or take action against construction companies for dilly-dallying.”
Project contractors blame ambiguity in project estimation, locals’ obstruction and delayed payments from construction companies for the delay in development projects’ completion.
“We have had to stop work in the past due to the obstruction of locals or people’s representatives. Sometimes the technical estimation of a project is misleading and we have to discontinue until that issue is solved,” said Rajan Subedi, a representative of Kanchharam Construction, a construction company working for road projects in the district.
Yagyaraj Sunuwar, a House of Representatives from Okhaldhunga, and Mohan Kumar Khadka, chairman at the Financial Committee in Province 1, also stressed the need of expediting construction works of the incomplete projects. Sunuwar said, “The construction of Likhu corridor, Molung corridor and other road projects are going at a snail’s pace. The contractors should speed up construction works.”
Ambirbabu Gurung, state minister for Physical Infrastructures in Province 1, directed authorities to take action against the contractors who did not complete their project on time.
Meanwhile, chiefs of local units, who also attended the programme, said the authorities should also check the standard of the construction work rather than only focussing on meeting the deadline. Maniraj Rai, chairman of Molung Rural Municipality, says substandard construction materials were used in the construction of a building of Rampur Heath Post.
“This is only one example. The federal and provincial governments launch projects without coordinating with us. This is why contractors are being careless and construction works do not meet the standard,” Rai said.
Mohan Kumar Shrestha, mayor of Siddhicharan Municipality, agrees with Rai and says that the higher authorities do not coordinate with the local units while launching development projects.
“Local units must be kept abreast of the situation of development projects and development activities taking place at the local level,” said Shrestha. “If this is done, the projects can be completed on time. The people’s representatives can mediate between the locals and the contractor companies and reach a solution to problems that arise during construction.”