KATHMANDU, June 10: The Department of Roads (DoR) has been revoking the contracts of those construction companies failing to complete construction of roads and bridges on time.
Although deadlines were extended repeatedly, the negligent contractors kept on dilly-dallying the construction works for a long time resulting in nullifying of the contracts.
According to Nareshman Shakya, chief of the Division of Bridge under the DoR, the department initially extends the deadline of construction work in case of delay. However, the contract will be scrapped if there is no condition for the construction company to deliver the work on time.
The contract for the construction of a bridge over the Trishuli River at Battar has been annulled. The process to take forward the remaining works through a new contract is due, said Shakya.
"If the notice is issued in the ongoing fiscal year, the construction work would start at the beginning of the next fiscal year," he said.
Not all construction companies are negligent. Some are very responsible too. For instance, there is a construction company that is repairing the bridge linking Dhanusha district with Siraha, Shakya informed. He shared that two other contracts, however, are on the verge of being annulled.
Shakya shared that some processes like publishing notice have to be fulfilled before annulling the contract and so it will take some time to complete the process.
According to him, the same company would be given an opportunity if the construction entrepreneur comes forward expressing commitment to carry out the work even when the process for action is initiated. Shakya said that the contract would be annulled only if the progress of work is not satisfactory or when work has not been carried out at all.
"We give an opportunity to continue the work to the contractors who give us convincing reasons with strong evidence that they can complete the work on time," he said.
Engineer Suraj Adhikari shared that there were several ‘problematic contracts' in the under-construction 400 kilometers road of the Mid-hill Highway. He informed that the contract for the construction of the Bheri Bridge had been rescinded some time back as the construction works remained in limbo for a long time.
Five contracts have been annulled in the current fiscal year in Panchthar. Shakya said the contract had to be called off after the contractor failed to carry out works despite extending the contract many times.
The government has forwarded the process of construction of a bridge over the Jabdighat Khola in Bardia by hiring a new contractor some time back after calling off the contract with the previous contractor.
Similarly, the contract for the Balaju-Trishuli road has also been annulled after the contractor made no progress for a long time. Earlier, there was a practice of extending the contract period of projects which remained stalled for long in the past years, sometimes citing the COVID-19 pandemic and sometimes pointing to the amendment of the Public Procurement Regulations.
But nowadays, not only the Department of Roads but the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport is showing its interest in managing the so-called problematic contracts'. Ever since he took charge of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Minister Prakash Jwala has shown his eagerness in annulling the contracts of the contractors not carrying out their works and keeping the construction projects in limbo for a long time.