Construction of the Bahane-Syaulibang road started 21 years ago but it’s still incompleteLack of enough budget, misappropriation of funds, ineffective use of allocated budget, disputes regarding road alignment are the main causes behind the delay of the road project.
The construction work of Bahane-Syaulibang road in Pyuthan started 21 years ago with a budget of Rs 130 million. However, the rural road linking Syaulibang with the district headquarters, Khalanga, is yet to be completed.
“The road project started two decades ago. But we still don’t have motorable roads or good foot trails for the locals of Syaulibang,” said Dal Bahadur Budha, a local trader in Syaulibang. “The road project is incomplete due to the negligence of the contractors as well as authorities concerned.”
Syaulibang is the only ward in Naubahini municipality that remains unconnected with the district headquarters. The locals of Syaulibang have to walk up to six hours to reach the administrative centre of the rural municipality. “Life is not easy for us here,” said Budha.
The authorities initiated construction of the road stretch from the fiscal year 1998/99. Over the years, the District Development Committee, Division Road Office, District Coordination Committee and the Infrastructure Development Office have carried out the road projects, at different times. A huge amount of budget under the Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Programme has been spent on the road project so far.
Lack of enough budget, misappropriation of funds, ineffective use of the allocated budget, disputes regarding road alignment are the main causes behind the delay of the road project, said Sher Bahadur Sen, ward chairman of Naubahini Ward No. 1. “The villagers of Syaulibang have had to bear the brunt of the failure of the concerned authorities,” said Sen. According to him, Rs 5 million was allocated for the road project by the Infrastructure Development Office in Pyuthan in the fiscal year 2018/19. But only Rs 700,000 was spent on the road, he said.
“The locals suffer due to the lack of road. Travelling to and from the village becomes more difficult when the weather turns bad. The budget allocated to construct the road is frozen every year,” said Sen, expressing his anger on the government authorities’ failure to take action against the various contractors who have been at the helm of the construction project over the years.
Mahat-Mamata JV and Paudel Construction have been awarded the contract of the road project for the past two years. For this fiscal year, the Infrastructure Development Office allocated Rs 6.9 million budget to the project. However, four months into the year and work on the road is yet to start.
“Various political leaders, ministers and lawmakers who visit the village during their election campaigns have made assurances on the completion of the road project but none of them has kept their word,” said Budha.
The under-construction road is 27 kilometres long and is supposed to link Syaulibang to Khalanga.