KATHMANDU, May 19: The government has intensified crackdown on those contractors who have either failed to complete development projects on time or done substandard work.On Friday, police briefly detained two contractors, who have been delaying road construction projects under various pretexts in Pokhara.
They were freed after they promised in writing to expedite the work.Chief of Kaski District Police Office Superintendent of Police Om Rana said that the contractors were taken under control as per the instruction of the home minister to warn such
contractors.Construction entrepreneur Surendra Basnet was arrested on the charge of delaying blacktopping of Gagangauda section of the Prithvi Highway, which connects the capitals of Province 3 and 4.Basnet's Saruwa Construction had signed a contract worth Rs 20 million with the Road Division Office on May 15, 2017 to finish blacktopping of the 1.4 kilometer road section of the highway within a month of the agreement.
Later, making some excuses, the company had managed to extend the project deadline till March 15, 2018. Two months past the deadline, the company has yet to complete the blacktopping work.“Therefore we took Basnet under control and sought clarification from him for the delay. He was released after he promised in writing to finish the blacktopping work as soon as possible,” SP Rana said.
Earlier, locals had staged protests demanding action against the construction company for the delay in blacktopping. They had complained that dust pollution had become unbearable in their locality due to the delay in blacktopping the road section.
Similarly, police also took Anil Khadka of Acharya Builders Pvt Ltd under control and sought clarification from him for delaying his part of the road work. The road division had signed a contract worth Rs 26 million for the construction of a road around Prithivi Chowk. But even as of now, the company is yet to complete the construction work.
“We freed him also after he submitted in writing that his company would complete the work as soon as possible and was ready to face legal action on default. He told us that the construction work was delayed in lack of construction equipment,” SP Rana said.
Similarly, Kathmandu District Administration Office also sent a circular to all the concerned bodies in the district to send details of the contractors defaulting on construction work or under-performing.
Basudev Ghimire, deputy chief district officer, said that DAO has sent circular to over 23 authorities to submit details of under-performing and defaulting contractors within three days.
On Wednesday, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa had asked all the district bodies to make a list of contractors who have been delaying various development projects. “I ask all the district bodies to prepare a list of such contractors and send the details to the ministry within the next seven days. I also ask you (district bodies) to summon such contractors and issue them deadlines to complete the works. If they continue to behave irresponsibly, arrest them and initiate necessary legal actions,” Minister Thapa had said during a meeting with representatives of concerned bodies at his ministry.
(With inputs from Pokhara-based correspondent Bishan Chhetri)