Travellers suffer as contractors continue to delay maintenance of Putalisadak and Chabahil-Jorpati-Sankhu roads

KATHMANDU, Oct. 12 — Travellers have been suffering because of the sorry state of the major road segments in the Putalisadak and Chabahil-Jorpati-Sankhu areas of Kathmandu. The roads in these areas have remained pathetic for months now, posing serious problems to commuters.

These road segments have remained in dire straits for a long time despite the commitments expressed by the government authorities to accomplish them in the prescribed deadlines. The delay has been blamed mainly on the negligence of the contractors, lack of coordination among the government authorities, the rainy season and the pandemic.

Of these, the contracts for the maintenance of the segments that connect Putalisadak-Kamalpokhari and Gaushala-Chabahil had been issued last March, with the target to complete the projects by August. However, the busy roads are still in a pathetic state.

The Road Division Office awarded the contract of the Putalisadak-Kamalpokhari segment to PR Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. The agreement to complete the reconstruction of the 1,250 meter long City Center-Star Mall-Putalisadak-Shankar Dev Campus road was signed for a cost of Rs 119.40 million.

Almost every year during the rainy season, the road segment remains waterlogged due to the drainage problems. Although the maintenance of drainage has been completed on time, the construction company has been delaying the road repairing works citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Keshab Sharma, director general of the Department of Roads (DoR), said the maintenance of Putalisadak road has been delayed due to the rainy season, pandemic and lockdowns.

Site In-charge, Engineer Umesh Raj Subedi said they had asked the contractor to complete the blacktopping of the 700 meters of Star Mall-Putalisadak segment by Dashain, which will be starting from Saturday. According to him, the construction company has already laid a drainage pipe of size 1,200 millimeters along the road between Shankar Dev Campus and Star Mall. Similarly, the drainage pipes of 900 mm size have been laid along the Star Mall and Kamalpokhari segment.

Likewise, the construction of the road connecting Gaushala-Chabahil has also remained stranded for a long time. According to the Department of Roads, the delay by Nepal Electricity Authority in paving the underground electricity cables is the main hurdle for road maintenance in the area. The electricity authority which was supposed to complete the cable work by mid-May had only accomplished the task in the last week of June.

Engineer and Site In-charge Saumya Ananda said currently the drainage repairing work is going on in the Chabahil segment. According to her, the DoR had signed an agreement with Kalika-Vedanshi Construction JV to complete the road reconstruction in six months. The construction company has been awarded the maintenance of around a 2.5 km road segment for Rs 208.70 million. Recently, the government authority extended the deadline of the Chabahil road maintenance to mid-January, 2021.

The road connecting Chabahil-Jorpati-Sankhu has also remained pathetic for the past few years. Five years ago, the government authority had assigned the construction work to separate contractors dividing the 12.5 km long road in four segments. As per the agreements, the contractors were supposed to accomplish the work in two years.

United Builders and Engineers was awarded the contract for the maintenance of Chabahil-Jorpati road segment(3.6 km) and Bajraguru-Chyangmila-Khani JV was awarded the work of Southern Gate-Thali (2.4 km) segment. Similarly, Bajraguru-Biruwa-Khani JV was awarded the contract to reconstruct the 2.4 km of Thali-Danchhi section, Biti-Sunkoshi Worldwide JV has been assigned for the extension of 2.4 km long road connecting Danchhi-Salambutar and Lama Samanantar JV has been given the contract of the 1 km long Salambutar-Sankhu road.

However, construction work in none of these segments has been concluded so far. According to the DoR, the delay was mainly due to the negligence of the construction companies and the issues related to land compensation.

Project Chief Guru Adhikari said they have started the process to blacklist the non-performing contractors. “We have warned that we will blacklist those who do not finish the remaining work within the next two weeks,” Adhikari said.

Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Republica.

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