Kathmandu, February 14
The Finance Committee of the Legislature-Parliament today directed the government to complete the Melamchi Water Supply Project, which can deliver 170 million litres of water per day to Kathmandu valley, within this fiscal year without any cost overrun.
The instruction was given to the Cabinet and the Ministry of Water Supply. The instruction was given few days after the government scrapped the project contract with Italian firm, Co-operativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) di Ravenna, which had abandoned the project mid-way.
The committee has also asked the government to immediately identify possible ways to complete the remaining work of the project without violating provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
“The government should immediately select contractors to build the project and make necessary amendments in existing laws if necessary. At the end, it should ensure that the remaining construction work is completed within this fiscal year,” said Krishna Prasad Dahal, chairman of the committee.
The committee has also directed the government to find out why the Italian contractor abandoned the project and submit the study report to the committee within a month.
“What happened with Melamchi project can also happen with other ongoing projects. Thus, the government should be careful that lapses witnessed in the water project are not repeated,” said Dahal.
The government last week terminated the contract with CMC after it abandoned the project. Following this, works at the project site have come to a halt.
Though majority of the construction work of the project has been completed, construction of head works and tunnel gate, and works such as fitting of sensor cameras and concrete lining along nearly 700 metres of the tunnel are yet to be completed.
The government, on the other hand, is still undecided about resuming the stalled work. The government had earlier expressed intention to complete the project using Nepali contractors.
It had also received a green signal from the Public Accounts Committee to do so. Yet no progress has been made on that front.
A version of this article appears in print on February 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.