Haste in inauguration of under-construction Dharahara courts controversy

Published On: February 23, 2024 09:00 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma

KATHMANDU, Feb 22: The controversy continues as the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated the Dharahara before completing its construction. A dispute is ongoing between the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) and the Ministry of Urban Development regarding this issue.

At the same time, the government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is also rushing to inaugurate a view tower being constructed in Damak, Jhapa and putting pressure on the contractor while the Office of the Auditor General has been repeatedly raising questions on the construction of this view tower  .

The Ministry of Urban Development has rushed to inaugurate the under-construction view tower. The then Prime Minister Oli himself laid the foundation stone of this view tower. It is not yet decided who will take responsibility for its operation and management after the inauguration. The ministry has not even made a guideline for this matter. The ministry has been in a hurry to inaugurate the view tower without completing the work.

Even the ministry has not been able to pay the amount as agreed upon to the contractor company that is building the view tower. The ministry is yet to pay Rs 230 million to the contractor. The contractor company is putting pressure on the ministry to open only after paying outstanding amounts.

So far, 94 percent of view tower work has been completed. The representatives of the construction companies who are working on the construction are putting pressure on the high officials of the ministry to inaugurate only after 100% completion of work.

A senior official of the ministry said, “There is a possibility that we will inaugurate it on February 26. Preparations are being made for it now.”

Mani Ram Gelal, secretary for the ministry, said that it has not been decided yet who will inaugurate the view tower and when. He admitted that the work of the view tower was not completed.

Sudip Paudel, the Project Manager for the Intensive Urban and Building Construction Project in Jhapa, which is working on the view tower, said that preparations are being made to inaugurate the View Tower   by mid-March.

“Preparations are now being made to inaugurate the view tower by mid-March,” he said. He said that it has not yet been decided who will do it.

According to Paudel, some 95 percent of the work of the view tower has been completed so far. He said that it will take another month to complete the work. “We are asking the senior officials of the ministry to inaugurate the view tower only by paying the outstanding amount,” Bijaya Kumar Shah, managing director of the construction company, Om Sai Ram Construction, said, “It is not good to inaugurate the work before it is completed. After completion of the work, the state should pay for it.”

A Chinese company, ZCGIEC, in collaboration with Ashish and Om Sairam JV received the contract for the construction of the 21-story view tower, with 18 concrete floors and an additional three metal floors on the top.

Ministry sources said, “UML Chairman Oli also wanted to inaugurate it himself. Because Jhapa is Oli's home district. Who will take over the operation and management of the view tower after its inauguration? It has not been decided yet. Damak Municipality has refused to take over the management of the view tower. Because it is expensive to operate and manage. Accordingly, it is difficult to generate income from it.”

It is about 5 km west of the established market in Damak. Therefore, it is estimated to be expensive to manage and operate. Since it is 5 km away from the market, there is less chance of it generating profit any time soon even if a shopping mall, a gym hall, a hospital, or a beauty parlor is built there.


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