Donation row halts road construction

KHOTANG: Construction work of the Hile-Halesi road section has come to a halt following threats from the Kirat Janabadi Workers’ Party — an armed outfit. The party issued the threat for what it called a denial to pay donation it had demanded. The Santoshi Swachhanda Construction Company that was building the road halted the work after the party demanded five per cent of the total budget of the project.

Nandalal Shrestha of the company said they had no option but to stop the work. “We are already working at a loss so there is no question of paying the party,” he said.

According to Shrestha, the construction was to be completed within two years. Blacktopping of the road commenced some eight months ago with an assistance of Rs 400 million from the Indian government.

An accountant at the company, Uttam Subedi, said that the opening of the track and gravelling of the 40 km road section was already complete. Various equipment used for the construction have been left useless at the project site. The company said that it could resume the work only if the outfit withdrew its demands.

On the other hand, Assistant CDO Krishna Bahadur Katawal claimed that the administration will interfere and do the needful. “We will create an environment conducive to the resumption of the construction. We could even deploy security forces if need be,” he said.