Department of Roads refuses to accept new bridge over BishnumatiIn yet another case of substandard bridge construction by the Pappu Construction, the Department of Roads (DoR) has refused to accept the newly built bridge over Bishnumati River in Teku, Kathmandu.
In yet another case of substandard bridge construction by the Pappu Construction, the Department of Roads (DoR) has refused to accept the newly built bridge over Bishnumati River in Teku, Kathmandu.
While contractor ZIEC-Pappu JV completed the bridge in July, the department has refused to accept the structure that links Teku and Kalimati, calling the works substandard.
According to the department, the contractor had ignored its warning and that of the consultant about its failure to maintain the quality prescribed in the design. The design required a cable with a 15.7mm diameter but the contractor used a 15.2mm cable.
Although the contractor has promised to rebuild the bridge if it fails to bear the load during test, the department has yet to decide on the proposal.
“The issue here is not only about the bridge sustaining the load, but of not following the design approved by the consultant,” said Rabindra Nath Shrestha, director general of the department.
In fact, the consultant had sought details of the construction materials used, and their source and quality, according to DoR officials.
The contractor had carried on with the works while refusing to share the details, forcing the consultant to test the samples at the lab of the Institute of Engineering (IoE), Tribhuvan University.
After the test found the cable to be smaller than that in the approved design, the authorities immediately asked the contractor to stop further works. “Instead of stopping work, it constructed the pre-stress concrete girder and jacking of cable wire without meeting the specified requirements,” said a senior official at the department.
After the ZIEC-Pappu JV defied the consultant’s suggestions, the Project Implementation Unit under the department published a notice on newspapers on June 6, warning of serious consequences for implementing the project without maintaining the standard.
“Citing seriousness of the job and safety of the bridge, we had instructed you to suspend all work until the employer issues another instruction.
Despite our instruction to suspend the works, you continued with the construction of Teku Bridge and even completed the concreting of the deck slab without considering its serious consequences. We take this matter as the highest level of negligence from your side,” the project’s notice reads.
It is another example of the alleged quality compromise by the Pappu, whose owners—Hari Narayan Rauniyar and his son Sumit Rauniyar—face corruption case at the Special Court for a substandard bridge over the Babai river in Bardiya.
The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority charge-sheeted the duo and 10 other government officials and a consultant on October 6. As the contractor delayed works, the Asian Development Bank, which had provided financial assistance, pulled out of the project. The bridge, initiated under the Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project, was handed over to the Road Department in July. Currently, Kathmandu Division Office-1 of the department is overseeing the project.
The department has not made full payment to the contractor. The ADB was supposed to pay for the entire construction. But due to the delay in construction works, the department may have to pay additional amounts after the expiry of the project. Mukunda Adhikari, chief of the Kathmandu Division Office-1, said they have not paid more than Rs10 million to the contractor.
A committee formed by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had found defects in the Babai bridge in Bardiya, Lalbakaiya bridge in Rautahat, Kamala bridge in Sindhuli, and Ratu bridge in Mahottari after examining seven bridge projects contracted by the Pappu. The committee headed by DoR senior engineer Deepak Shrestha submitted its report to Physical Infrastructure Minister Raghubir Mahaseth last month.