KATHMANDU, April 26: The government has decided to repair the damaged sections of the Sikta Irrigation Project. Many sections of the canal had crumbled before the project's completion due to poor construction and negligence by the contractor.
A meeting of the cabinet earlier this week made the decision, according to government spokesperson Gokul Baskota who is also the Minister for Communications and Information Technology.
The main canal of the Sikta project built by CTCE Kalika Construction was badly damaged in more than 100 places along its 45-kilometer total length exposing the sub-standard construction on the national pride project. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has filed a corruption case against the contractor and project officials after this newspaper in a series of reports exposed the irregularities in the project.
Earlier, the Ministry of Irrigation had formed a probe panel to study the defects in the main canal of the project. Following the recommendations of the committee the government has decided to repair the damaged sections with a view to bringing the project in operation without delay. The project will irrigate 51,000 acres of land in Banke and Bardiya districts in Province 5.
Meanwhile the government has decided to recall Nepali ambassador to Qatar Ramesh Prasad Koirala two years ahead of the expiry of his term. Minister Baskota didn't say why was Koirala being recalled. He was appointed ambassador by the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government. At the time the appointment had been questioned citing conflict of interest due to his alleged loyalty toward recruitment agencies.
The government has also decided to release Rs 846 million to Nepal Army for reconstruction of houses in Bara and Parsa districts swept away by a tornado earlier this month.
The cabinet has also given its nod for four agreements to be signed with China during the visit of President Bidya Bhandari. The government has given its nod for agreements on preventing theft, clandestine excavation and illicit import and export of cultural property, Chinese aid on standard measurement, agreement on customs and Chinese grant of Rs 16.8 billion to Nepal.