KATHMANDU: With the contract deadline only 11 days away, hardly 18.5 percent progress has been achieved in the upgradation of the Narayangadh-Butwal road section of the East-West Highway. Amid the disappointing performance in the construction, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, which has been overseeing the project, is preparing to terminate the contract.
A highly placed source at the ministry said the contractor is will get one last chance to improve performance, with conditions. The process will be initiated if satisfactory progress is not found even after that. This road section with a total length of 113 km has been divided into two parts for upgrading. That section has been divided into Narayangadh Butwal Sakad Yojana Eastern Section and Western Section.
However, project director Sushilbabu Dhakal informed that the overall physical progress of both these sections so far is 18.44 percent. Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister Mohammad Ishtiyak Rayi, who was summoned by the Development and Technology Committee of the Federal Parliament on Wednesday, said that there is no longer a waiting period for the project contract. “The work is disappointing, there is no option to break the contract,” said Rai said.
Project Director Dhakal stated that the impact of Covid-19, the lack of inter-agency coordination, and the scarcity of construction materials are key reasons behind the delay in the project’s construction activities.
Even if the contract is broken, it seems that it will be more difficult to advance the project. “Because the cost of the project will further increase further,” said an official at the Department of Roads. Kalyani Kumari Khadka, Chairperson of the Development and Technology Committee, said that the progress of the project up to the end of the project period has drawn serious attention.
Khadka said due to such low and disappointing progress during the contract period of completion of the entire project, the matter of having to cancel the project contract should be seriously examined.
“ The necessary action should be taken forward and the project should be completed on time and in a quality manner so that the cost of the project does not increase in the future. It looks like it should be taken,’ she said.