On June 29, the office under the Department of Roads (DoR) had sought clarification from Pappu Construction about poor progress in two bridge projects over Khangsang and Sokhukhola rivers in Sindhuli district on the Mid-Hill Highway, asking why the contractor should not be blacklisted after terminating the contract.
According to the Mid-Hill Highway project, the contractor owned by ruling Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal lawmaker Hari Narayan Prasad Rauniyar had taken no step towards completing the project although it submitted its clarification.
“If the contractor fails to make any progress on the field, contract with Pappu will be terminated,” said Satyendra Shakya, the highway project manager.
Pappu Construction, notorious for leaving most of the projects it contracted in disarray, won bids for the two bridges in a joint venture arrangement with the Nepal Pragati Nirman Sewa on July 13, 2011. The project worth Rs104 million should have been completed by January 12, 2013.
The deadline was extended till July 14, 2013 for one bridge and January 10, 2014 for the other structure. As joint venture partners engaged in a tussle, construction works account for only 43 percent, according to the project office.
The Mid-hill Highway Office said the contractor did not pay heed to repeated requests and also made no effort for extending the construction deadline. “Following the public notice issued on June 29, it has gone ahead with extending the contract deadline while submitting the bill for limited works it completed worth around Rs10 million,” said Shakya.
However, Pappu has blamed its joint venture partner—Nepal Pragati, which primarily handled construction, behind the delay. “After our JV partner ran away, we had to handle the works. We are committed to completing both the bridges within the current fiscal year,” Rauniyar, who claimed to have disassociated from the company, told the Post.
Pappu, which has received contracts for around three dozen bridge projects across the country, has the track record of poor performance and poor quality, according to DoR officials. One of the bridges that it built over the Babai river at Jabbighat in Bardiya district collapsed on August 13, 2017 when work was about to be over.
Alongside Pappu, the Mid-Hill Highway (Eastern) had also warned of terminating contract and blacklisting eight other contractors who failed to start works, or complete them, on time.
The eight contractors are Rasuwa/SBA JV; SBA Nirman Sewa; Koshi and Neupane Nirman Sewa; Surya Construction Firm; Chyangmila/Galwa JV; Biruwa/Galwa JV; Elite Construction Company and Lohani and Brothers/Siddhababa JV. “They have cited problems including lack of workers and absence of proper road to deliver equipment and construction materials,” said Shakay.
“Some have prioritised one project over another if the contract was awarded for two or more projects under a single package.”
The project office is not considering terminating their contract immediately. “We’ll be patient with these contractors as long as they show commitment to completing work instead of inviting fresh tender that may take long time and escalate cost,” said Shakya.
The Mid-Hill Highway Project Office has instructed Rasuwa/SBA JV to initiate the process of contract deadline extension and complete all the works immediately. The project has decided to draw four percent of the advance payment guarantee deposited by the contractor in the case of Lohani and Brothers/Siddhababa JV.
It has ordered SBA Nirman Sewa; Koshi and Neupane Nirman Sewa; Surya Construction Firm; Chyangmila/Galwa JV; Biruwa/Galwa JV; and Elite Construction Company to seek deadline extension as they were working beyond the deadline on different projects.