Mid-Hill Highway construction works fall in limbo as contractor goes out of contact

Published On: December 12, 2022 11:42 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

DHORPATAN, Dec 12: The construction works of the Mid-Hill Highway has fallen into limbo as a contractor who was awarded the contract for blacktopping the Baglung-Akshyate-Ghodabandhe road section, the part of the national pride project, has gone out of contact. 

Blacktopping of around 12-km road sections has become uncertain as Head of Shrestha Construction and Transport Service, Ramkaji Shrestha has remained out of contact for over a month.

It may be noted that the Surya Construction had won the contract for the blacktopping of the road in the fiscal year 2072/73 BS. Later, the Shrestha Construction Company took over the responsibility to blacktop the road. But Shrestha has not completed half of the work till date.

Locals are fed up with the dust and mud on the road as a result of the inordinate delay to complete the blacktopping works.

It has been over 25 years since the track of the highway – a lifeline of the folks of Baglung– was opened. A decade has already elapsed since the contract signing was made with the construction company for blacktopping.

Harilal Kandel, a local, said that people here are compelled to migrate to other areas due to dust and mud. The houses along the road sides have been covered with dust in the winter and mud in the summer seasons, he added.

"Bihun is the pocket area for oranges. Due to the dilapidated road condition, orange production has been on the decline. The fruits in the tree are covered with dust. Such yields do not get good prices in the market," he complained.

Though the Baglung-Akshyate section has witnessed some progress, blacktopping has stagnated along the road stretching from Akshyate to Ghodabandhe.

Kandel said the present situation has resulted due to the failure of the government to take action against the contractors holding the construction works.

Former Ward Chairperson of Kathekhola Rural Municipality-5, Shiva Prasad Kandel shared that the mid-hill highway works have been put on hold when the contractor awarded for blacktopping has remained out of contact for over a month. The contractor has turned its deaf ear to the demand of locals to complete the construction works on time.

"We had repeatedly urged the local administration, Department of Road and contractor for road blacktopping when the entire community was on the verge of migration en masse. But no one has taken this issue seriously," Kandel further shared.

Baglung section covers 142-km out of the total 1,776-km length of the mid-hill highway. Of the total 142-km stretch in Baglung, only the 12-km portion is yet to be blacktopped in Baglung.

The Mid-Hill highway office said the remaining 12-km would be blacktopped by mid-July.

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