Janakpur residents obstructing development project
January 29, 2018 05:30 AM NPT
By: Suresh Yadav
JANAKPUR, Jan 29: Residents of Janakpur have been in a jubilant mood after the government declared it as the temporary capital of Province 2 in the new federal setup. Despite the declaration, they seem to be less open about developing necessary infrastructures needed for the capital.
The locals have been obstructing a project working to widen roads and manage sewages. The Integrated Urban Development Project had started four years ago with grant of Rs 1 billion from the Asian Development Bank. In December 2015, the contractors had signed an agreement to complete the project in two years.
The contractors have been tasked with developing 31-kilometer sewage as well as blacktopping about nine kilometers of roads.
However, they have not been able to carry out their works due to the opposition.
They have managed to complete just 20 percent of road construction works and 60 percent of sewage construction so far. The deadline of February 22 is now just three weeks away .
Although the contractors have access to budget and required technical assistance, they have complained that lack of cooperation from the locals has been hindering the work progress. Just a few months ago, Balram Mahato, managing director of Raman Constructions that has been tasked with the job, had organized press conference and appealed to the public for necessary support.
“We have got the responsibility to widen the roads and blacktop them. However, the locals have not vacated the structures that falls in the area to be blacktopped. We do not have rights to evict them with an excavator. How can we do our work in such situation?” said an irate Mahato as the deadline looms.
Although they have completed road widening works around Jiromile-Murali Chowk of the ring road, their works have come to a halt in front of a house of former Chief District Officer Birendra Singh.
Singh even moved the court to obstruct the project. The court, however, instructed to carry on the construction works as per the map provided by the Survey Office. However, the former CDO is yet to let the construction work to proceed further. The works are being obstructed in 22 places, including Kadam Chowk, Murali Chowk, Bhanu Chowk, Mils Asia, Banshi Chowk, Thapa Chowk and Piradi Chowk.
In some places, political leaders or high-ranking government officials have posed obstructions, according to consultant engineer Awadesh Sah. In some places where the project overlaps privately-owned lands, the locals are obstructing the construction demanding adequate compensation.
On the other hand, engineer Ganga Prasad Yadav, chief of the project, said they are taking initiatives to remove the obstructions. However, he failed to clarify what steps they are taking.
Yadav informed that the project's deadline has been postponed until upcoming July. “I believe the works should be completed within the new deadline,” he added.