Laxmi Capital News
Mahaseth promises protection for contractors

Publicworks contractors who had been dilly-dallying in completing their assigned workhave resumed their work after the government started arresting and reprimandingsuch contractors over the past few weeks. Several non-performing andunder-performing contractors were arrested and given stern warnings to completetheir work on the orders of Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa.

Buton Friday, after a group of contractors visited Minister for PhysicalInfrastructure and Transport RaghubirMahaseth and complained about the'arbitrary' arrests, Minister Mahaseth told them that such arrests were wrongand he would do the needful to protect them. Mahaseth reportedly told thecontractors to inform him if they are arrested and he would take necessaryaction to protect them.

Theminister's statement shows that he is dissatisfied with the work of Minister ofHome Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa but he hasn't expressed his dissatisfactionopenly, according to top officials at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructureand Transport.

Mahaseth'sstatement has come after his about a month-long silence on the issue.

HomeMinister Thapa has ordered the district administrations to arrestnon-performing and defaulter contractors and send their details to theministry.

Contractors are not only to blamefor the delays because preparatory tasks like clearing trees along the right ofway, shifting the electricity poles and others works have not beendone. -- RaghubirMahaseth,Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport

Afterreceiving a memorandum from the leaders of Federation of Contractors'Association of Nepal on Friday, Minister Mahaseth had said, “Contractors arenot only to blame for the delays because preparatory tasks like clearing treesalong the right of way, shifting the electricity poles and others works havenot been done.”

FCANhad sought protection from the arrests by another ministry.

“Thisis the first time the contractors complained to me about the arrests related tothe contracts signed with my ministry,” anMoPIT official quoted the minister assaying at the meeting with the contractors.

ChiefDistrict Officer of Kathmandu Kedarnath Sharma said that contractors havereturned to the sites following their warnings and some arrests. “Also, we havebeen receiving reports that there have been progress in public works in variousdistricts following our action,” added Sharma.

Sharma'soffice has collected details of about 300 under-performing and defaultercontractors and reported to the MoHA.

“Weare also consulting the concerned project offices about delayed projects beforeinitiating action against the contractors,” said Sharma adding that theobjective of the ongoing action is to ensure that the public works arecompleted on time.

Butcontractors who gathered in Kathmandu three weeks ago for a special annualgeneral meeting criticized their leadership as "only small contractorswere being targeted by the government while big contractors have not beentouched."

Smallcontractors complained that Sharada Prasad Adhikari, the promoter of SailungConstruction Pvt Ltd, who has defaulted on several contract deadlines, has notbeen subjected to action because he is friends with the co-chairs of NepalCommunist Party Prime Minister KP Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. A photo of Oli,Dahal and Adhikari dining together at Adhikari's home had circulated on thesocial media a few months ago.

Source: MyRepublica, 18thJune 2018

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