Watchdog slams agencies for delays

  • Tripureshwor-Kalanki-Nagdhunga road expansion
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 23, 2018-

A several issues and negligence by multiple government agencies delayed the Tripureshwor-Kalanki-Nagdhunga road expansion project, a new government report says.

The Public Procurement Monitoring Office (PPMO), that monitors government-funded contracts, says in its 2018 annual report, “Since the beginning, concerned agencies failed to foresee the problems that could arise while executing the project”.

The road project that began in July 2015 is not yet complete. Its incomplete state hinders residents living near it and daily commuters.

The project contract was awarded in four packages on July 16, 2015. The four packages failed to meet the deadline of January 14, 2018. The authority has extended the deadline for all packages by one year to January 14, 2019.

Currently, the progress in the 12.38km long road ranges from 35 percent to 60 percent based on packages, according to the PPMO report.  

The report says, “Poor preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) is one of the reasons for slow progress”.

Project executing agency, The Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project, failed to incorporate plan of site clearance while preparing the DPR, the PPMO report says.

Despite prior knowledge that many houses along the road would have to be razed, the DPR report failed to identify the gamut of problems that could arise while demolishing houses and how much time it would take to complete the project after settling such issues, the report says.

The DPR failed to mention details of tasks various government agencies had to execute.

The agencies involved in the project include Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA), Nepal Electricity Authority, Nepal Telecom, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and other municipalities, District Forest Office, Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board, National Trading Limited and local guthis (or Newari social organisation) to clear the site in time and cost for clearing the site by these agencies. These offices failed to act on time, says the report.

PPMO Secretary Madhu Prasad Regmi said, “We have pointed out that the interim order of the Supreme Court (SC) and the contractor alone are not responsible for slow progress of the project.”

In his defence, Project Chief Deepak KC said DPR did not mention the problems that could arise, the time and cost it would require to complete the project because the existing DPR guidelines did not mention them.

“The DPR has mentioned the number of houses to be demolished, telephone and electricity lines to be cleared. These tasks could not be completed in time due to lack of proper coordination among the government agencies,” KC said. The DPR guideline could be amended as suggested by the PPMO, he said.

Another issue the report points to is the contract was awarded without for clearing the site.

Refuting this, KC said the contract was awarded as per high-level decision that the project could start after clearing 50 percent of the site.

Challenging KC’s claim, KVDA Development Commissioner Bhaikaji Tiwari told the Post that he has no knowledge about any decision saying the project can be implemented after clearing 50 percent of site.

“During the then Baburam Bhattarai-led government, a Prime Minister level decision said site clearance and road expansion works should be done simultaneously,” he said.

Beside the slackness of government agencies, the report says the contractors did not accomplish work on time even on cleared sites.

Project delays compelled residents living near the site to suffer dust, grime and mud for more than two years.

Now, the project will not be implemented as per the original plan after the SC told the government, in June this year, to provide appropriate compensation for acquiring land for the project.

Earlier, the DoR had planned to raze houses along the road claiming, they were built on the right of the way of the road.  According to KC, the government will now blacktop the original road in the disputed area, while blacktopping on widened area in other locations.

Responding to the writ filed by residents near the Kalanki-Nagdhunga section, the SC directed the government to implement the project by acquiring land from people with appropriate compensation.

Published: 23-08-2018 07:43

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