Construction deadline of all projects extended by six months
KATHMANDU, JULY 16
The government has decided to extend the completion deadline of all projects that are under construction across the country by six months.
Amid construction works of different projects being halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the last few months, a recent meeting of the Council of Ministers decided to extend the completion deadline of all projects by six months, including those projects whose deadline was over during the lockdown period, informed a Cabinet minister seeking anonymity.
There are more than 5,000 small and large projects under construction in the country as of today. The Cabinet’s decision means that the project deadline of all these 5,000-plus projects have been extended by six months.
“As the construction of a majority of projects has been affected since the beginning of the lockdown, a decision has been made to extend construction completion deadline of all projects by six months,” the minister added.
However, the extension of construction deadline neither allows projects to inflate project cost nor for it to come up with any new financial liabilities.
Earlier, the Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal (FCAN) — the umbrella organisation representing the country’s contractors — had requested the government to extend the deadline of all the projects as construction activities could not be taken up during the lockdown which was enforced since March 24.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), however, was in a mood to extend the construction completion deadline for only those projects that were affected by COV- ID-19 and the lockdown.
MoPIT officials said that such blanket extension on construction deadline of projects will promote delay in finishing projects by contractors and project developers who are already pushing back the completion deadline of projects citing different reasons.
Saroj Kumar Pradhan, spokesperson for MoPIT, informed that the ministry has not received any official decision of the government to extend project construction deadline. “There is no option other than to extend the construction deadline of projects whose construction has been affected by the COVID-19. However, contractors who were intentionally delaying projects will try taking benefit if the deadline of all projects is extended,” he stated.
Meanwhile, FCAN President Ravi Singh said that the decision made by the government to extend construction deadline of projects is laudable. “Contractors could not work properly due to the lockdown. The decision will primarily help those projects whose deadline is coming near,” he said.
Though the lockdown has been eased, Singh said that construction activities are not taking place due to the monsoon.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 17, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.