Kathmandu, January 11

Plans to complete construction of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project in the next six months has become uncertain as officials of the Italian contractor company, Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) di Ravenna, who had left the country for Christmas and New Year celebrations are yet to return.

Though the government had earlier confiscated the passports of the concerned Italian personnel of CMC, it later decided to allow them to leave the country after the Italian Embassy in New Delhi provided assurance of their return after the holiday season.

According to Gajendra Kumar Thakur, secretary at the Ministry of Water Supply, the officials of CMC had pledged to the government that they would return by this week but they are still out of contact.

“The contractor has not informed yet on whether they will be returning or not even though we have corresponded with the Italian company through email,” Thakur said.

He reiterated that the government had allowed the CMC officials to leave the country only after they had received a written assurance from the Italian Embassy in India and the Consulate General of Italy in Kathmandu, ensuring that the CMC workers would return from Italy after the New Year. “It’s already January 11 and we have not heard of anything regarding their return from the embassy or the CMC office in Italy.” However, Thakur was optimistic that they would return.

He further said the government has yet to decide on what steps to take next regarding the issue. Thakur said all concerned stakeholders needed to be involved in resolving this case and to create a favourable environment for the timely completion of the project.

The construction works of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project is in the final stage with nearly 90 per cent accomplishment.