Nepal | June 03, 2020

EDITORIAL: Government liable

The Himalayan Times
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The concerned ministries need not wait for the PM’s instruction to carry out regular works

The government has given a clear instruction to development project chiefs to terminate contracts if the contractors fail to accomplish the job on time and as per the set standard.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal gave this instruction at a meeting of National Development Action Committee where he stressed that the main contractor should be held responsible for the delay in completing any development project directly benefiting the people and contributing to the nation-building process.

Delay in completing the development projects results in variation in cost. From now onward, the government will not entertain any reasons behind any dilly-dallying about the completion of such projects.

The contractors of national priority-one projects often come up with variation orders in one or the other excuses not anticipated when the contract is awarded. This kind of tendency leads to the escalation of the project’s cost and time.

The meeting also directed the concerned ministries and secretaries to sign a performance contract with the heads of the departments, chiefs of the priority-one projects and management heads of the state-owned enterprises to ensure timely completion of development works.

Quality and timely completion of the works are the prerequisites for speedy development. The concerned ministries and their departments must constantly monitor and evaluate the works being carried out in the fields.

In order to achieve this goal the government must make its mechanism more effective so that the concerned officials can be held accountable along with a carrot-and-stick policy.

If the government really wants to spend 80 percent of the capital budget it must make its implementation mechanism effective. For this, seven members of the National Planning Commission have been assigned to monitor the national priority projects being executed by various ministries.

The major challenge ahead is that the government machinery is in doldrums.

How can the public expect better performance from the government when it cannot even fix the traffic lights for years and patch up the potholes in the busy streets in the Kathmandu Valley?

It has been many years since the government kick-started road extension programme in the Valley. But almost all the roads are in a mess causing prolonged traffic jams, air pollution and health problems.

The concerned ministries need not wait for the PM’s instruction to carry out those regular works. Many national priority projects such as airports and highways have been delayed by years for want of raw materials such as sand, boulders and earth as the concerned DDCs have imposed a ban on their extraction on environmental ground.

The government must help overcome such hurdles if it wants the development projects completed on time. The contractors of the priority projects should be allowed to extract the raw materials from designated areas from where they can extract the required raw materials meant for the projects.

The NPC officials assigned for monitoring the priority development projects can help address such problems confronting the project works. Merely holding the contractors responsible for the delay of any works is not a solution.

Unless the government mechanism and officials are made efficient and accountable the contractors alone will not be able to complete the project works on time.

Poor drainage

Incessant rainfall in the past few days has obstructed traffic at many places in the capital city.

Vehicular movement has been adversely affected and the pedestrians are experiencing much inconvenience. This has been a perennial problem but the concerned seem to be the least bothered.

What they should be doing now is the building of drainage systems so that that the roads are not waterlogged. With the monsoon expected to last for at least another 10 days we can expect more rainfall.

The roads should have proper drainage failing which water would accumulate making it very difficult for vehicular movement.

The Metropolitan Traffic Division of Kathmandu has said that this is creating problems particularly in places like Tinkune and also the ring road areas and other road stretches.

As such, the traffic police are finding it difficult to manage the vehicular traffic. A proper drainage system in place would ease vehicular and pedestrian movement particularly during the monsoon.

Many roads are inundated particularly after heavy rainfall. Therefore, it is high time we had a proper drainage system in place as a matter of priority.

A version of this article appears in print on September 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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