November 06, 2019
Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun has directed the officials of Sikta Irrigation Project— a national pride project — to complete the remaining works on time.
After locals lodged a complaint stating that the project officials and the contractor are intentionally delaying the project, Minister Pun has directed the contractor and project head to complete the project at any cost within the given deadline.
As per the initial contract signed in 2015, the contractor is supposed to complete the project by November this year. However, only around 30 per cent of the overall works have been completed so far.
“The locals have expressed concerns related to delay in completion of the project, which they say is causing them to lose income due to insufficient water for farming,” Pun said, adding the government is willing to facilitate in resolving any dispute or misunderstanding regarding implementation of the project.
A part of the project’s main canal near Changainala of Banke district had suffered heavy damages in between a stretch of 20 km and 25 km from Rapti River on two occasions — in June 2016 and June 2018. It is currently undergoing repairs.
Disputes have also erupted regarding low quality construction materials being used in one of its subsidiary canals. These issues are likely to stretch the project completion period further.
“The contractor recently informed that some rowdy locals are obstructing the construction seeking ‘commission’,” said Minister Pun, adding that he will hold discussion on the matter with the chief district officer and district police for a way out. “In case the rowdy locals continue to create problems, we will take action as per law.”
However, even if all the hurdles are sorted out, it is certain that the project will not be completed by November-end.
Hence, the government will most likely extend the project completion deadline soon.
Source: The Himalayan Times