Three projects worth Rs870 million were pushed into uncertainty after the financer Asian Development Bank decided to pull funding for them. Started in 2010, the projects–solid waste processing centre, auto village infrastructure and ground water drinking project–are scheduled to be completed by December 2015 as per the agreement signed between the government and the bank.
The completion deadline was eventually set for December 2018 after it had been extended several times. According to projects officials, the bank decided to withdraw from them due to to their poor progress.
The Rs370-million solid waste processing centre project, Rs270-million auto village infrastructure project and Rs220-million ground water drinking project have been held up for years.
Demands for a higher compensation amount, repeated complaints at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority over the procurement process and other issues have slowed the project to a crawl, project officials said.
Narayan Babu Basnet, chairman of the Drinking Water Consumer Committee, complained that the Asian Development Bank had abandoned the projects without informing the consumers even when the local authority was working to settle all the issues.
A large number of big and small infrastructure projects have got bogged down due to continuous disputes between locals, stakeholders and project contractors. The slowdown in the construction has dampened people’s hopes for development. Most of the projects are in the initial phase.
Under the ground water drinking project, works have started on vertical water storage tank and pipe laying. While the solid waste processing centre project has invited tenders, the auto village infrastructure project has yet to initiate the bidding process.
Mayor of Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City Shiva Raj Subedi said they were unable to stop the Asian Development Bank projects as they had been approved with faulty design and process when there was no local government. “These projects had landed into controversy from the beginning,” Subedi said, adding that even the local government representatives who were elected after decades were not able to sort out the issues.
The ADB had agreed on October 26, 2010 to fund the Secondary Towns Integrated Urban Environmental Improvement Project that included water supply subproject in Butwal. However, it ran into controversy over the formation process of consumer committee before works could begin. After a four-year halt, the bank however agreed to finance the project in November 2014.
Subsequently, the project’s boring component was awarded to a company at Rs232 million. But the bore did not produce water.
Even as the project continued search for another location as per the revised design, the vertical tank was constructed and works on laying pipes started during that period. But again, the consumer group complained that the project was using substandard pipes, demanding their replacement. As it snowballed into a bigger issue, the multilateral donor decided to pull out of the project.
The Kathmandu Post