Contractor Ethics And Reconstruction Delays
It is sad to note that the reconstruction of the Dharahara has failed to gather momentum because of the negligence on the part of the contractor company. GIETC-RAMAN J/V, a Nepal-China joint venture company was awarded the contract to rebuild the iconic tower at a cost of Rs. 3.45 billion in October last year. But the company’s Nepali partner, RAMAN, has not paid much attention towards carrying out its responsibility. The tower was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Instead, the company has completed the construction of its own four-storey building in Baluwatar by using the labourers and equipment meant for the reconstruction of Dharahara. A National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) official has confirmed the charge. The contractor company is supposed to have built up to the 10th floor of the tower by August this year. But ironically, it has still been working on the first floor of the basement so far. The tower under construction will be 79.2 metres high, including the dome and pinnacle.
According to a news report published in this daily the other day, reconstruction of the historical tower has been delayed by nine months owing to the carelessness of the contractor. Raju Man Manandhar, an expert of the NRA, said that no tangible achievement was made for nine months. However, the reconstruction work has been moving ahead for the last two months. Although it is a joint venture project, only RAMAN Contractor Company has been reported in the site. The Chinese company, GIETC, has yet to make its presence in the reconstruction site. The working process of the contractor firm has remained dissatisfactory. The contruction firm is learnt to have demanded a new working schedule of reconstruction claiming a loss of 175 days. The deadline to complete the reconstruction of the new Dharhara is going to expire on October 7, 2020. The 18-storey tower was built by the first prime minister of Nepal Bhimsen Thapa in 1825. The original tower was destroyed in the earthquake of 1934.
Though the NRA has made available enough land for building the tower structure, the contractor company did not work in the tower section earlier. The project covers an area of 22 ropanis. The NRA has acquired around 15 ropanis of land of the General Post Office and additional three ropanis of Sundhara. The government has aimed to reconstruct the tower with the use of modern technology as the old one had been damaged thrice previously. Learning a lesson from the past, the government has come up with the plan to rebuild the earthquake-resilient tower. However, locals have been lobbying for reconstructing the tower by applying traditional methods and materials. It may be recalled here that there were also debates over the modality of the reconstruction of the Ranipokhari. Anyway, the authorities concerned must step up measures immediately to ensure that the reconstruction of the tower is moving ahead smoothly so that it can be completed as scheduled. They should also not compromise with the quality of construction work and materials.