Lack of skilled human resources hits bridge construction hard

KATHMANDU: Despite the government's plan of action for construction of bridges in highways, the move has not picked up momentum for lack of skilled human resources.

The government has witnessed crisis of skilled human resources for the under construction bridges. The total number of bridges that are under construction and in pipeline is 2,000.

According to the Department of Roads, the construction entrepreneurs have to wait for their turn to get the skilled human resources for bridge construction. The country has faced crisis of budget as well as skilled human resources for the completion of 900 plus under construction bridges including 276 in the highways, Deputy Director General of the Department and Chief of Bridge Division Arjun Jung Thapa said.

Senior Divisional Engineer of the Department Nareshman Shakya said that finding workers with technical expertise to carry out risky jobs is difficult though manual workers are available. The officials of the Department said that finding such workers in the remote areas is more difficult compared to the urban and developed sites.

The Department has awarded bids to different companies for the construction of bridges worth Rs 62 billion. Generally, 15 to 30 skilled workers are required to complete the bridge construction excluding other manual workers. As per the contract agreement, construction works of all bridges should be completed within three to four years. Thapa said that only 50 bridges are expected to be completed by this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the fate of suspension bridges is exactly the same as that of the motorable bridges. The Suspension Bridge Division of the Ministry of Local Development said that bridge fitters are not available in the market though the tasks for tuin replacement is ongoing.

The government has planned to replace all the tuin bridges in the country but only 45 tuin out of 171 have been replaced, Chief of Division Guru Prasad Sharma said.

The government has allocated Rs 160 million to replace the tuin bridges in this fiscal year.