This undated photo shows the central pillar of a three-way bridge under construction at Ridi of Gulmi district.
GULMI, Sept 18: The construction of three-way bridge over Ridi River that connects Gulmi, Palpa and Syangja districts has not made any progress even after the deadline has passed. The construction of the bridge was supposed to be completed by June 23.
Locals have turned aggressive over the negligence of the contractors that has caused the delay in the construction.
The locals were excited about the bridge as it was to be located at Ridi, a popular pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees. However, the contractors’ negligence has poured cold water to their excitement.
“The construction started very late and could not be continued,” Rabilal Panta, a trader at Ridi, said: “The contractor company who had taken up the job has caused the delay.” He added that there a pillar for the bridge that was recently laid was going to be useless as the contractor had used sub-standard materials, against the governmental criteria.
The then chief secretary of Nepal government, Lilamani Poudel and lawmaker Chandra Bhandari had laid the foundation stone for the three-way bridge on December 1, 2014. The responsibility of bridge’s construction had been given to Nayabato-Rubina-Mana JV Company.
Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads (DoLIDAR) had provided the contract to the company. The company has said it was supposed to invest Rs 98.8 million as per the contract. Despite the signing of the agreement, not even 20 percent work on the central pillar has been completed.
The locals had expected that the bridge to be constructed near the Kaligandaki corridor and Ruru area would promote tourism in the region.
Chief of Ruru Rural Municipality, Nilkantha Gautam said that the negligence of the contractors has caused the delay of construction work.
“The contractors know about the timeframe of the agreement,” he said: “The construction has been delayed because of their negligence.” Although the earthquake of 2015 and the Indian blockade afterwards caused hurdles for the construction, contractors’ negligence was the major reason for the delay, Gautam said.
Sundar Kasaju, a local, they had attempted to remind the contractors of their job, but their suggestions were just neglected. “We went to the department and the ministry. We met the director general to raise the issue. But nothing was done.”
Mahendra Adhikari, representative of the Nayabato- Rubina-Mana JV Company, said that the preparation of design and the Indian blockade had caused delay of the construction. He said that the bridge was supposed to be constructed within this June.
“The job was disrupted because of the problems that the country faced, the work will pick up its pace after Dashain and Tihar festivals,” he said.
Adhikari further said that they have requested the authorities for two additional years for the construction. He added that as it was going to be a unique bridge, they faced problems regarding supply of material and manpower, which was another reason for the delay.
“The most important and time consuming work for the bridge is the construction of the pillar,” he said. “Now that the monsoon has ended, we are planning to finish the construction within this fiscal year.”