Prime Minister KP Oli has instructed Minister for Water Supply Bina Magar and concerned officials of Melamchi Water Supply Project to continue with the project works to finish it by the stipulated deadline, unperturbed by the latest developments.
After talking with minister Magar, secretary at the ministry Gajendra Thakur, and MWSP project director Surya Raj Kandel, the PM on Friday issued three instructions on the project’s management after the Italian Contractor CMC tried to abscond the project, leaving it incomplete in the eleventh hour.
The PM’s instructions were: ensure that the project works are continued without any hurdle, make sure that the matters of performance bond or security bond were handled carefully, and make efforts to address the concerns of Nepali sub-contractors, suppliers and vendors who have outstanding dues from the Italian contractor.
Following the government’s decision to freeze performance bond in two different banks, the High Court Patan has issued an interim order to leave the matter as it is and not to proceed to decide on it until the court’s next decision. Both the sides are invited for hearing on Sunday by the court on the matter.
However, despite the PM’s instructions, the project officials are clueless on how to proceed with the project as the contractor has remained silent on the remaining works.
The pressure from unpaid vendors and suppliers are also huge on the contractor as well as the project office of MWSP, which has left the project officials in a fix six days after the attempt of absconding by contractor’s project manager and other staffers.
Deputy Project Director Ram Prasad Kharel said that they were not in a position to say anything at the moment. “We may be taking further decision after Sunday’s hearing on the matter of performance bond,” added Kharel.
There has also been discussion about forming an expert team to advise the project management on handling the issues with the contractor.
Member of the MWSP Chandra Bahadur Thapa said that they were discussing the matter in detail as it involved an international contractor and decisions were to be made carefully.
According to knowledgeable sources, possible options for the government to go ahead now would be: making the contractor complete works through negotiations, or terminating the contract and awarding the remaining works to another contractor through a fast track mode.