Row between govt authorities leaves road project uncertain

- Tika Prasad Bhatta, Manthali

Nov 8, 2014-

The road construction and repair project to be implemented in Ramechhap under Swiss cooperation has become uncertain due to a dispute between District Development Committee (DDC) and District Technical Office (DTO). Reportedly, the two bodies have locked horns over the terms of the project that require the DDC to carry out the work and the DTO to look after financial matters.

The project agreement which should have been signed months ago has been delayed due to the dispute. While the donor agency did not budge from its stance, DDC officials said such provision will create unnecessary hassles in implementing the project. As the law mandates the Local Development Ministry, Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads and the DDC chief to ink the agreement giving a green light to the project, the row between two bodies has stalled the project worth millions.

The project includes construction of necessary infrastructure and repair and construction of a road from Galcha to Chauri via Guranse and another road from Khairenighat to Sailung. The four-year project, if implemented, will also construct bridges over streams, causeways and conduct soling work, making the road accessible year round. Apart from Ramechhap, the project will also be put into operation in Sindhuli and Khotang districts. The donor agency is ready to allocate Rs 200 million for each district.

Meanwhile, dismissing the claims of dispute between the two bodies, the DDC’s Project Planning and Administrative Officer Ramesh Adhikari attributed the delay to some technical issues that were being discussed upon. “Other districts too have not reached an agreement,” he said.

Amid uncertainty, leaders of three major political parties expressed their concerns over the issue during an inter-party meeting in Manthali on Thursday. According to Jhapad Raj Bhandari, district vice-president of Nepali Congress (NC), the meeting stressed on the implementation of the project at the earliest without over-stepping DDC’s authority and in accordance with the Local Self Governance Act. However, most other participants in the meeting said the two bodies should agree to the donor agency’s terms and put aside their differences to implement the project.  They expressed concerns that the project may slip away if the dispute continues. Stating that the project may not be implemented, NC regional president Lekh Bahadur Karki urged the two sides to patch up their differences and agree to the terms of the donor agency. Locals said the meeting was held to put indirect pressure to hand over all operations of the project to the DDC.

Published: 09-11-2014 09:09

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