PANCHTHAR, Mar 5: Infrastructure development projects run by UNNATI-Inclusive Growth Program, a Nepal-Denmark development cooperation, in seven hilly districts of Province 1 are progressing at a very slow pace.
Though the project deadline is approaching, not even half of the works have been completed.
The risk of project money remaining unspent has become higher as the contractor is highly unlikely to complete the works by the deadline. The projects yet get any sort of direction due to negligence of contractors although the program is going to phase out by mid-May.
The project had invited tender for construction of roads and bridges as part of building infrastructures for improvement of value chain of tea, cardamom, ginger, and milk. But these infrastructure projects are not gaining desired pace. As a result, completion deadline of some projects have been extended while preparations are being made to hand over remaining works of other projects to consumer groups.
Infrastructure projects worth billions of rupees are under different stages of implementation in Panchthar, Taplejung, Ilam, Dhankuta, Terhathum, Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur districts. But work progress is all these districts at minimal level.
Few months ago, the Ministry for Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) had written a letter to take action against contractors not working as per the agreed work schedule. It had even directed the contractors to hand over remaining works to consumers groups.
Projects that have received deadline extension are also not making satisfactory progress.
“Only 30 percent of the project works have been completed in the district,” Jaya Ram Shrestha, chief of District Technical Office (DTO), Panchthar said. “The projects will not be completed on time if the contractors do not increase their speed,” he added.
Eight projects worth Rs 360 million are being implemented in the district as a part of the UNNATI program. One of them is being handled by the consumers', while the remaining others have been contracted.
Om Dhungana, chief of DTO Ilam, said that only 50 percent of the project works have been completed in the district.
Projects worth Rs 500 million are being implemented in Ilam - the highest among seven districts -- under the UNNATI program.
“We are sparing no effort to stimulate pace of the construction works,” added Dhungana.
Only 21 percent of the works has been completed in Terhathum. Altogether five projects under the UNNATI program are being implemented in the district. Some of them are being handled by the consumers' committee.
“Eleven consumers' committee have undertaken projects worth a combined Rs 110 million,” said Ganga Sagar Yadav, an engineer with DTO, Terhathum.
Fate of projects being implemented under UNNATI program in Dhankuta is no different. Chief of DTO Dhankuta said that 30 percent of the works have been completed in the district so far. Three road and one bridge projects are being implemented in the district under the program.
Similar is the condition of Bhojpur. “Only 12 percent works have been completed so far,” Rajan Raj Reddy, an engineer at DTO Bhojpur, said, adding that the contractor has gone out of contact.
Four projects are being implemented in Sankhuwasabha under the UNNATI program. One of them is bridge, while three other are road projects, according to the DTO. Work progress stands at around 30 percent, according to the office.
According to UNNATI's Taplejung office, two bridge and three road projects in the district worth Rs 160 million have achieved 55 percent work progress.