The Birgunj-Pathlaiya road upgradation project has ground to a halt and is unlikely to meet the completion deadline. The contractor tasked with a 5.8km section that stretches from Simara to Jitpur has not carried out construction work for the last three months.
The 27km-long Birgunj-Pathlaiya road is being upgraded to a commercial highway.
According to the Department of Road (DoR), the joint venture of Sharma, Diwa and United Builders won the bid to upgrade the road section for Rs670 million but has not been in contact for the last three months.
“As per the contract signed with contractors, the entire project should be completed by January 2019,” said Ashok Kumar Ray Yadav, engineer of Birgung-Pathlaiya Road Office of the DoR. “However, with the ongoing delays in upgradation of one section of the road, I am doubtful that the deadline will be met.”
The rogue contractor has only completed 28 percent of the physical work and utilised 17 percent of the fund allocated.
Yadav revealed that the progress at other sections of the road had been going smoothly with no issues with the contractors there.
“Altogether 40 percent of the project’s physical work has been completed while 30 percent of the fund allocated for the project has been utilised,” said Yadav. “Although work progress at other sections is satisfactory, the delay in construction at this particular section is likely to hurt the entire project.”
The project was forecast to have completed 50 percent of physical work by this juncture.
The DoR is upgrading the existing two-lane highway into six lanes to ease the movement of cargo vehicles which regularly causes traffic congestion due to narrow road.
While the contractor holds the lion share of the blame for setting the project back, another reason for the delay is the difficulty in acquiring private land from locals in Jitpur.
“The DoR has to acquire 25 metres of land on each side of the road from the centre line but the locals are reluctant to transfer the ownership of their land to the department in exchange of compensation,” said Yadav. “Unless the settlement is removed forcefully, it will be difficult to work.”
As the DoR is struggling to acquire land at Jitpur, it has started the process to distribute compensation for the land being acquired to widen the 1.1-km road connecting the integrated check post (ICP) to Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj which is the important component of the project.
From The Kathmandu Post