Persistent delays plague road projects by Indian construction companies

Published On: April 14, 2024 09:15 PM NPT By: Hari Prasad Sharma

KATHMANDU, April 14: Under-construction road projects undertaken by Indian construction companies are facing significant delays. This is particularly true for projects contracted to joint ventures (JVs) between Nepali and Indian firms.

The Kamalbinayak-Nagarkot road extension in Bhaktapur, supposed to be completed in three years, remains unfinished even after a decade. The completion date for this project, handled by a joint venture between Indian contractor AIPL and Shailung Construction, remains uncertain. Sharda Prasad Adhikari, the landlord of the current Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, serves as the director of Shailung Construction.

The JV between AIPL and Shailung Construction commenced on June 12, 2014. However, progress stalled after AIPL withdrew, slowing down the construction and expansion efforts. Despite repeated deadline extensions, now totaling 20, the project is still incomplete.

Project head Meghraj Marasini reported that 98 percent of the road work has been completed, and he expects the project to be finalized within the next one and a half months. "Currently, 98 percent of the physical progress has been achieved, though some sections of the road still need repairs," he said.

Local residents have protested the delay and negligence in expanding the 16-kilometer road by displaying pictures of monkeys and dogs alongside images of the contractor, Sharda Prasad Adhikari, on poles and vehicles.

The Chhare-Bidur road project mirrors the delays experienced by the Kamalbinayak-Nagarkot road. Initiated a decade ago, this project began in 2013 and is now nearing completion. Originally slated for completion in two years by 2015, the deadline has been extended multiple times by the Indian contractor. Marasini noted that 96 percent of the work has been completed.

Similarly, the Balaju-Kakani-Trishuli road extension, contracted to AIPL and Shailung Construction, has been stagnant for the last eight years. The project, covering a total of 55 kilometers, started in 2015 but has been plagued by the contractor’s negligence, leading to numerous deadline extensions. To date, only 65 percent of the road has been expanded.

Construction delays have also plagued the Bhedetar-Rabi-Ranke road project in eastern Nepal. The Indian construction company Apco Infotech Pvt Ltd, based in Lucknow, has struggled to complete the project within the agreed-upon timeframe of three years.

The construction began in November 2018, but Project Head Dipesh Rajak indicated that only 50 percent of the 100-kilometer road project has been completed so far. "Delays have been caused by factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, local disputes, and issues related to forests," Rajak explained.

Similarly, the Basantpur-Katahariya-Kawagoth-Pipradi road project, part of the Road Improvement and Development Project Directorate in Bara, has faced prolonged construction delays. The joint effort between an Indian construction company and a Nepali counterpart started almost six years ago but has stalled. After the contractor failed to progress, the Department of Roads terminated the contract. However, the contractor obtained a stay order from the court, adding to the project's uncertainty.

"The contractor is inactive despite the termination of the contract due to non-performance; they have sought legal intervention," stated Binod Sah, the project's leader. Construction on the 25-kilometer road began in July 2018.

Shushil Babu Dhakal, director general of the Department of Roads, emphasized the department's policy of canceling contracts with non-compliant or slow contractors. "We do not tolerate contractors who do not fulfill their obligations as per the agreement. Contracts with companies merely occupying projects without progress will be terminated, regardless of whether they are domestic or foreign," he asserted.


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