RAUTAHAT, APRIL 29
Seven years after the project started, construction of a bridge over the Lal Bakaiya River at Tikuliya in Rautahat hasn't been completed yet.
The bridge was conceived to link Rautahat's western flank, including Ishanath Municipality to the district headquarters.
Seven years after the project was initiated, barely 50 per cent work has finished, and as the authority concerned has apparently failed to crack its whip to ensure early completion of the project, it has been the locals who are at the receiving end of the sluggish work.
Contract-signing of the project had happened in July 2014. Pappu Construction's then operator Harinarayan Rauniyar had signed the contract with the government on behalf of the company for the project worth around 150 million rupees estimated to be complete in three years.
Ward 4 Chairperson Bhuneshwor Shahi said they had even approached the higher authorities with request to expedite the project, but to no avail.
"We approached the administration, the provincial and the national government asking them to get the contractor to speed up work, but to no avail. The project is still in limbo and nobody seems to be bothered," Shahi said.
Further, Shahi also expressed doubt about the standard of the work finished so far. "Not only has the project been delayed inordinately but whatever work has finished so far too doesn't seem to be up to the standard and has started to fall apart. It's time we pulled down the structure built so far and started the project afresh," he said.
As the monsoon approaches, the locals are bracing for a difficult time crossing the river.
"The bridge has remained a mere chimera for us all these years. We don't have a big problem during the winter, but it's a real problem during the monsoon to cross the flooded river on boats," said Raj Kumar Thakur, a local.
Besides the resident of Ishanath Municipality, even the residents of Rajpur and Paroha municipalities need the bridge which links them to Gaur.
It's worth noting that five persons lost their lives in a boat accident on the river three years ago.
"The government and the contractor don't seem to have learnt any lesson even after so many precious lives perished in the boat accident that wouldn't have happened had the bridge been constructed on time," said Senior Citizen Association Chairperson Bijaya Kishor Jha.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 30, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.