Construction of a bridge over Arun river delayed by a decadeThe foundation stone of the bridge was laid 10 years ago but the construction work remains incomplete.
The foundation stone of a bridge over Arun river in Lamsuwaghat along the border of Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur was laid a decade ago. But the bridge’s construction is yet to complete.
Swachhand Construction Services, a contractor company, had agreed to construct the bridge on July 9, 2010. Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, the then deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Planning and Construction, had laid the foundation stone of the bridge in 2010.
In the last 10 years, only six pillars of the 167 metres bridge have been built. The contractor left the construction work, citing that they found only rocks while digging pits for the construction of pillars.
The deadline for the bridge project was on July 9, 2013, which was extended by a year. But the contractor failed to meet the extended deadline too.
In the absence of a bridge in Lamsuwaghat, locals of Sadananda have to walk to Todkepul, about five kilometres away, to cross the river via boat. Boat operators charge Rs 50 per individual to ferry them across the river. Puspha Kumal, a local boat operator, said, “We take annual contracts with parents to help school children cross the river.”
Madhav Katuwal, a local resident of Sadananda, said, “We have to send our kids to school taking high risk. There’s no concrete bridge nearby to help us cross the river. We don’t know when the construction work of the bridge will be completed.”
Around 70,000 residents of Sadananda Municipality and Salpasilichho Rural Municipality have been facing difficulties while travelling to Sankhuwasabha from Bhojpur due to a lack of bridge in Lamsuwaghat. Rudra Bahadur Magar, a local resident of Sadananda, said, “The contractor left the construction work of the bridge incomplete on various pretexts. We have to suffer because of it.”
In the initial agreement, the total cost of the bridge was around Rs 130 million but was later increased to Rs 166.3 million due to redesigning. According to the redesign, four pillars of the bridge should be dug down up to 16 metres.
Roshan Dev, an engineer at the Division Road Office in Tumlingtar, said, “The initial design of the bridge was changed after rocks were found in the construction site. The rocks could not be removed even after blasting. The construction work will gain momentum now since the Bridge Division has permitted the redesigning.”
Bhuwan Halide, a local resident of Sadananda, said, “Authorities have said around 30 percent of the bridge’s construction work has been completed in 10 years period. But that’s not true. Local leaders and those who won last general elections and local level elections from this area are not paying attention towards the delay in construction work.”
Birbal Rai, mayor of Sadananda Municipality, said, “We have been taking initiatives to speed up construction work of the bridge. But if the bridge cannot be built there, we should also find other alternatives.”
But, according to Swochhanda Construction Company, the construction work of the bridge has been stopped for the time being since they are awaiting a new design.