DHADING, Nov 6: The construction of the Dharke–Sitapaila road, an alternative to the Naubise–Nagdhunga block, has come to a standstill as the main contractor has gone out of contact. The project kicked off two years ago amid the pressure to avoid the heavy traffic jam on the Naubise road. Thousands of vehicles including goods carriers pass through the narrow highway everyday and even a slight obstacle on the way results in a beeline of vehicles there in minutes. And more so during festive seasons when the traffic on the road grows.
The new route begins from Dharke Market of Prithvi Highway and gets through Thulokhola to Bhimdhunga to Sitapaila and is 23 kilometers long. The government of Province 3 had handed over the project to Koshi & Neupane Construction Company. The company is no more in contact with the Department of Roads. According to a site engineer involved in the project, Bodh Prasad Bhandari, the work is in limbo for four months now since the beginning of the new fiscal year.
"The road was being widened and upgraded, but the company has gone out of contact. Since the beginning of the new fiscal year, work has not moved ahead and we have not been able to keep in touch with the company," Bhandari said.
Niraj Shakya, chief of the Road Division Office, Nuwakot, stated that the main contractor was found to have subcontracted the project. And workers haven't been seen at the site for long now. "None of the representatives of the contractor are in our contact. It has come to the fore that the main contractor handed over the responsibility to a sub-contractor. But the work has been halted since May," he said. "We have been trying to get in touch with them. Due legal process would be followed against the negligence if they still remain out of contact," he added.
The contract was handed over to the company for Rs 130 million for the road stretch from Dharke to Thulokhola alone. Widening the road, installing pipes and constructing cause way were the responsibilities. It has been learnt that the main company handed over the contract to a local contractor Suresh Lama.
"Now neither Lama, nor the main company is responding to us," said Shakya.
Earlier, the project was handled by the government itself. After the formation of the federal set up, the responsibility of building the road was given to the provincial government. While not even half the work has been done, the deadline is just a year away. "The road was to be completed in three years and two years have passed," engineer Bhandari said.