Sick bridge projects

Govt officials draw flak for their inaction against unruly contractors

Published On: February 2, 2017 02:06 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 1: Lawmakers have criticized the Department of Roads (DoR) for its failure to take any action against contractors of different bridge projects who have not been found in the site for years.

They blamed the government officials of trying to protect the non-performing contractors and not recommending them for blacklisting which bars them from bidding any project for a specified period. 

A total of 126 bridges, including 29 along strategic roads, have not seen any progress at all, depriving people of the crucial connectivity. Some of these bridges date back to 2010, according to DoR.

Speaking at the meeting of parliamentary Development Committee, lawmakers say, contractors, who are never seen in project site, bid for other projects and do not come into contact once they bag new projects.

At the meeting, Saroj Kumar Pradhan, deputy director general of DoR, made a presentation on the status of bridges under construction. However, he drew flaks from lawmakers for not pinpointing problems of unruly contractors and not taking action against them. 

Ganesh Pahadi, a lawmaker from Sindhuli, said though non-performance of contractors is a big problem, government officials do not raise the issue, but concentrate on other petty issues“ "A bridge over Kamala River in Sindhuli has been left in limbo for years. I have not seen contractor in the site for two years. It is a serious case of negligenc”," Pahadi said, adding that the government agencies have failed to make such contractors responsible.

Similarly, Janaki Saud, a lawmaker from Achham, said that the Rakam Bridge over Bheri River has remained incomplete for years.

The meeting decided to direct the DoR officials to take action against unscrupulous contractors and also submit the list of blacklisted contractors to it within seven days.
Most of the contractors bid the project at low price to get the contract and remain idle after receiving the 20 percent mobilization money.
Lawmaker Ang Tawa Sherpa demanded that the DoR provide it the list of projects and contractors who have flouted contract terms. 
National Planning Commission (NPC) Vice Chairman Min Bahadur Shrestha denied the charges put on bureaucracy and said that some bridge projects have become sick because some political leaders are directly or indirectly linked with the contractors. 

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