Published On: February 7, 2023 09:30 AM NPT By: Himal Lamsal
KATHMANDU, Feb 7: It has been 11 years since the government launched the Bheri Babai Multi-Purpose Irrigation Project to provide irrigation services throughout the year to 51,000 hectares of land in Banke and Bardiya.
According to the government target, this project should have been completed within the current financial year 2022/23. But by mid-January of the current financial year, the overall physical progress of this project has been only 59.10 percent.
Although the government has put it under a multi-year plan, the construction of this project has not been completed within the stipulated time. Due to this, the farmers have been deprived of getting the returns within the stipulated time. On the other hand, agricultural production could not be increased.
The government listed the Bheri Babai project as a project of national pride in FY 2011/12 and aimed to complete it within 10 years. From that irrigation project, 40 cubic meters per second of water flow from the Bheri River was to be diverted into the Babai River to provide irrigation service throughout the year.
Also, it was targeted to produce 46.8 megawatts of electricity. The government has estimated that this project will cost 33.19 billion rupees. So far, 14. 33 billion rupees have been spent on this project. According to the second quarterly report released by the project, the construction work of the Bheri Babai Diversion Multi-Purpose Project has been completed by 59.10 percent in the period up to six months of the current financial year.
During the period till the mid-January of the current year, the financial progress has been 14.33 billion rupees or 43.17 percent. The report of the National Planning Commission has pointed out that due to the lack of timely resource management, there is no consistency between the plans and schedule of the builders. "In this type of project, it takes time to manage and deploy large devices and equipment," said the report, "In public construction, procurement laws, regulations and other administrative complications and a lack of skilled technical manpower have been seen." It has been said that there are problems and procedural complications and the lack of clear policies and procedures regarding Ailani land is adding to the complexity.
On the other hand, 53 percent physical progress has been made toward the Bheri Corridor Irrigation Development Project. The total expenditure towards the corridor so far has been 1.27 billion rupees or 35.30 percent. The government has allocated a budget of 1.94 billion rupees for the Bheri Babai irrigation project in the current financial year. During the six months of the current year, the project has spent only 271.9 million rupees i.e 13.95 percent of the allocated budget. The project has made only 19.54 percent material progress during the six months of the current year. For the Bheri Corridor Irrigation Development Project, a budget of 303 million rupees has been allocated in the current year. During that period, only 47.1 million rupees i.e. 15.7 percent of the budget has been spent on the project.
Similarly, during the six months of the current year, the physical progress towards the corridor has been 26.38 percent. The construction of headworks, powerhouse and surge soft of Bheri Babai Diversion Multi-Purpose Project has been completed only 42 percent. According to the contract agreement, the construction of this structure should be completed by August 14, 2023. It seems that the physical progress of this structure has been delayed due to COVID-19 as well as dilly-dallying of the contractor company. So far, 2.45 billion rupees have been spent on the construction of the structure towards the headworks so far.
Guangdong Yuwangtairing-Raman JV has been hesitating in the construction of the contract for the construction of the structure. According to the contract agreement of Guangdong Yuwangteering-Raman JV, the construction of this project is set to be completed within August 14, 2023.
The contractor company is unlikely to complete the construction within the stipulated time. The contractor company got the contract for 6.16 billion rupees excluding VAT. Lekhnath Subedi, Senior Divisional Engineer of Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Irrigation Project said that the construction work of headworks, powerhouse and surge soft is only 42 percent. "The construction company is not able to work at the expected speed," he said. "The work has not been done according to the contract agreement." Senior Divisional Engineer Subedi said that the overall physical progress of the project is only 59.10 percent. The office of this project has been established since FY 2011/12, but the project construction work has been done only since FY 2014/15.
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