Rani Jamara project warns contractor of legal actionThe contractor completed over 95 percent of works but hasn’t shown up at site for a year.
Prithvi Man Shrestha
Officials at the Rani Jamara Kulariya Project, have told the contractor to complete the construction of the main canal or face legal action.
While 95 percent of the work on the national pride project has been completed, the contractor hasn’t shown up at the construction site for a year, officials said.
In a notice on Tuesday, the project office warned Marushin Shitaka Construction Co Inc that it would be compelled to take legal action if work wasn’t resumed within 15 days.
“The contract has been extended six times but the contractor has been reluctant to complete the work and hasn’t shown any activity in the site for a year,” the notice reads. “The extended contract period was also up on October 15.”
Prem Lasiwa, information officer at Rani Jamara Kulariya project said the office was forced to issue notice as the contractor failed to resume work.
“The last extension on the deadline appears to have been given for the sake of it only,” he said.
According to him, the contractor has long been promising they will return to work, but they haven't done so. According to the project, the contractor hasn’t even assigned someone to oversee the site and equipment has been left abandoned.
The Japanese contractor was awarded the contract for the main canal and the settling basin in November 2012. As per the contract, work on the Rs3.18 billion project should have been completed by November 2016. But, failure on the part of the government to clear the site on time delayed the project, according to Lasiwa.
A representative of the contractor blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for failure to continue work.
“We will resume work right after the Tihar festival,” said Dayaram Thapa, project manager of the company.
“The project should not have issued such a notice considering that only 3-4 percent work is left,” said Thapa. The other component of this multipurpose project is a hydropower project, which is 70 percent complete.
However, Lasiwa said the contractor halted the works much before the pandemic began and has not set foot at the project site since then.
The project was initiated in 2009-10 with the aim of completing it by 2017-18. The government’s failure to acquire barren land hampered the implementation of the project, according to the 47th report of the National Development Action Committee chaired by the prime minister.
Now, the deadline for the project has been extended till 2023-24. The estimated cost of the project has more than doubled.
Initially, it was estimated to be completed at a cost of Rs12.37 billion which has now ballooned to Rs27.7 billion. Once completed, the project is expected to irrigate 38,300 hectares of land in Kailali.