Dharahara reconstruction slows down after premature inauguration

Published On: November 25, 2021 04:22 PM NPT By: Himal Lamsal

KATHMANDU, Nov 25: Former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli hastily inaugurated Dharahara on April 24 without the completion of construction of all the infrastructure. Prior to Oli's inauguration, more than 400 workers worked day and night to complete the construction of the tower.

However, after the inauguration of the tower by the former prime minister, the construction work has been going at a snail’s pace. Also, the time for the dissolution of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is near and the delay and inaction of the contractor company has only made the matter worse.

Only 45 percent of the overall infrastructural development of Dharahara was completed when the former Prime Minister Oli inaugurated the tower. An engineer of NRA said that the contractor company worked at a fast pace due to the pressure before the inauguration, but now it seems as if they are working just to show off. “As the former prime minister has already inaugurated Dharahara, it seems it is not a priority for the new government, due to which the contractor company seems to be procrastinating the construction,” he said.

According to the 58th Annual Report of the Auditor General, 2021, only 55 percent financial progress and 45 percent physical progress were completed during the inauguration of Dharahara. "Even though the tower has been inaugurated, it has not come into operation. Also, it is not seen that the construction will be completed as per the agreement within the stipulated time," the report said. GITC-Raman JV had got a contract worth Rs 3.08 billion for the construction of various infrastructures including Dharahara. The contract for the reconstruction of the tower was signed on September 30, 2018.

According to the contract, the construction of the tower was to be completed within two years. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government extended the duration of the project by six months twice. The government has recently extended the deadline of the project till mid-April 2022, citing COVID-19 as the reason. However, the reconstruction work is not expected to be completed by that time period either.

Sanjay Nakarmi, project manager of GITC-Raman JV, said that although the construction of the tower has been completed, the exterior beautification work is still pending. According to the contractor company, 70 percent of the overall physical progress of the tower has been completed so far. Similarly, the work of the administrative building of the tower, utility buildings, underground parking, and the remains of the tower damaged by the earthquake to be placed in a glass frame as an earthquake memorial is still underway.

Likewise, an NRA engineer claimed that the contractor company had spent the mobilization money for the construction of the tower elsewhere and could not invest enough in the infrastructure of the tower and deploy workers. Prime Minister Oli laid the foundation stone of the tower on December 27, 2018.

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