Jun 25, 2018-The ongoing tussle between the government and the Melamchi contractor over the project completion deadline seems to have come to an end for now as the firm has pledged to honour its prior commitment.
The Italian contractor Co-operativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna (CMC), which has been criticised for not adhering to its commitment, has once again given its strong word for completing works before Dashain, the biggest festival of the country.A high-level CMC panel from its headquarters in Italy has signed an agreement with the government to expedite the remaining work, targeting the August deadline.
The CMC team, visiting Nepal, had agreed to divert water from Melamchi to Sundarijal before Dashain, according to Bhoj Bahadur Thapa, deputy executive director of the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB).
After the national pride project saw crawling progress, heading for another deadline miss, the government had decided to invite a top managerial team of the CMC to resolve the crisis.
The MWSDB sent a letter to the CMC headquarters on June 1 to invite its high-level management team to solve the matter at the earliest.Following the call, a four-member CMC team came to Nepal on June 20. The next day the team visited the project site before sitting for a discussion.
After studying the progress and two days of discussion among all parties on Friday, an agreement was reached to expedite work and to complete it within the stipulated time frame.“The CMC team had said they would abide by their commitment and bring water from Melamchi to Sundarijal as we have agreed before,” added Thapa.Tension between the government and the Italian contractor escalated after the CMC failed repeatedly to abide by the action plan that was agreed for completing works after tunnel digging was over on April 12.
According to the action plan, which was drafted by all the parties and agreed by the contractor, the CMC would supply water to Sundarijal on August 15. Despite agreeing to follow the action plan, their commitment on the ground lacked tangible progress, which hinted the project would miss the deadline again. Sluggish work on the part of the contractor, especially when the deadline was just a few months away, was viewed suspiciously.
Earlier, the CMC side had promised to complete the work on time although their demands, which were under consideration at the Dispute Board, were not addressed.While progress remained snail-paced, the contractor’s demand for an additional Rs1.65 billion and more time for additional work necessary to recover the damage inflicted by the 2015 earthquake resurfaced threatened to delay the project once again. Evaluating the additional work at the Headwork site, the government had already paid Rs 280 million.
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