Woman faints after falling into Pappu Construction pit

Published On: March 31, 2019 09:11 AM NPT By: Arjun Oli

NEPALGUNJ, March 31: A woman in Nepalgunj fainted on Thursday evening after falling into a water-filled pit dug by a contractor near the Rapti River in Nepalgunj.

Ramkali Tharu, 42, of Raptisonari Rural Municipality-6, fell  into the pit and became unconscious. According to the locals, Ramkali had gone to the river to wash clothes. She earns her living by crushing stones and extracting sand from the river. 

Recently, Pappu Construction, notorious for leaving infrastructure projects incomplete across the country, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of constructing the postal road, had assigned Sugandha Builders to extract construction materials from the Rapti River.

The decision was also permitted by Raptisonari Rural Municipality. However, Sugandha Builders had dug up a deadly pit on the bank of the river by using an excavator, according to locals.   Shyam Lal Chaudhary, husband of the victim, informed Republica that his wife would have died if he had not rescued her on time.

"I used my brain and rescued my wife immediately and rushed her to Nepalgunj Medical College for treatment," said Shyam Lal.  Admitting their fault, representatives of the contractor company agreed to pay for Ramkali's treatment after the accident.  

She is currently being kept at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital and her condition is critical, say family members. Locals accuse the contractor of extracting resources by digging a dangerous pit in a restricted area. "Pappu Construction has been illegally excavating resources from the Rapti River in the name of the Postal Highway since long and now Sungandha Builders is doing the same," said one of the locals seeking anonymity.

As per the law, no one is allowed to dig the river more than one and a half meters. However, contractors have dug up several pits, which can swallow humans, lament locals. "Both the contractors have dug up dangerous pits on Rapti River banks by ignoring the law," said Ram Lal Chaudhary, adding, "Despite being aware about the rampant excavation, responsible authorities have turned a blind eye."

Reportedly, there are several such pits in wards 2 and 6 of Raptisonari. Locals have repeatedly informed the local administration, police, District Coordination Committee (DCC) among other agencies about the illegal excavation but in vain.

Meanwhile, Indra KC, site in-charge of Pappu Construction, stated that the company is extracting resources from the river but claimed that they have not dug up such deadly pits. "The women fell into the pit dug up by some other contractor," he said. Contrarily, Manoj KC, an executive of Sugandha Builders claimed that the woman was under the influence of alcohol when she fell into the pit. "Even though that pit was not dug up by us, we have agreed to pay her treatment costs," said KC.

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