Chinese contractor’s truant attitude and rains worsening Butwal-Narayanghat road

Narayan Pangeni

August 8, 2021


Chinese contractor’s truant attitude and rains worsening Butwal-Narayanghat road

NAWALPUR: The Butwal-Narayanghat road stretch along the East-West Highway has become dilapidated due to rains and the contractor’s rather unconventional construction techniques.

The combination of rains and the contractor’s truant construction attitude has resulted in further deterioration of the road from Bardaghat to Gaindakot.

The 14-kilometer road stretch passing through Daunne, Dumkibas, Arunkhola, Chormara, Pragatinagar, Thumsi of Gaindakot, and other main market areas give the appearance of the road being the banks of a river galore with sand, pebbles and gravel scattered everywhere.

The highway stretch is from Gaindakot to Dumkibas further riddled with potholes in hundreds of places.

The contractor unloads poor-quality gravel to fill potholes along the highway.

The Chinese contractor company China State Engineering Corporation, which was awarded the contract to upgrade the 113-km of Narayanghat-Butwal road section, has contributed to worsening the road by piling up mud and stones on either side of the road.

The contractor company is also not up to an honest day’s work as it has been filling potholes with unfiltered river products, which instead of addressing the problem of potholes exacerbates it. The contractor is doing so to maintain the road but it has greatly increased the risk of accidents.

An aerial view of the highway.

Chief District Officer (CDO) Manmaya Pangeni said the construction company had to maintain the road during the construction period and they were doing so in order to keep the road in good condition.

Residents around the highway have complained that the work of filling potholes with unfiltered river products had increased the risk of stones bouncing off the road and hitting two-wheeler riders. The highway that is congested even during the prohibitory order when traffic is expected to be scarce poses high risks to motorcyclists as a result.

The road riddled with potholes is water-logged in settlement areas.

Khagendra Parajuli, a resident of Pragatinagar, said he could not say when a stone would hit him while he drove through the highway on his motorcycle. He added he had to ply the road every day.

The risk of accidents has increased when the company fills the road with dry gravel with stones in it. The road stretch patched with unfiltered gravel becomes the same again as soon as the rain starts falling again. When inquired about the nuisance, CDO Pangeni said that the company has been asked to work without obstructing the road as it is the main road.

Stones and dry gravel used to potholes increase the risk to motorcycling as the stones can bounce off and hit riders.

The Chinese company undertaking the road expansion has been delaying work citing rains at present and the coronavirus-induced lockdown in the past.

Despite the government’s decision of not halting the work of such projects even amidst the lockdown, the Chinese company has been embroiled in various disputes from time to time, including dispute with its own employee.

The poor work of filling potholes with unfiltered river products hampers the quality of the road even more.

After the former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli laid the foundation stone for upgradation of the road in Butwal on March 22, 2019, the road construction began in two phases: 65 km from Gaindakot-Daunne and 48-km from Daunne-Butwal.

As per the contract signed, more than 70 percent of the work should have been completed so far, but only 6 percent of the road upgradation has been accomplished.