NA suspends Chinese contractors for failing to expedite Fast Track construction

KATHMANDU: The Nepal Army (NA) has suspended the contractor companies – both Chinese – working on the Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track for failing to expedite the construction work.

According to the military, the company has been suspended for a few days.

However, the contract with the company has not been canceled.

The NA had earlier approved the designs of the tunnels and connecting bridges to be built along the Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track, one of the national pride projects.

The Nepal Army had signed two separate contracts with China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd and Poly Changda Engineering Co. Ltd last year for the construction of three tunnels, a few bridges, and a partial road under the Fast Track project.

It should be noted that the government in its policy and programs last week had mentioned to complete the Terai-Kathmandu fast track on time, i.e. by 2081 BS.

During the tenure of retired Chief of Army Staff Purnachandra Thapa, the Army had selected only two out of 43  companies as qualified contractors for both the phases.

The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had on April 1, 2021, directed the NA to stop the contract process, claiming that it did not abide by the financial regulations of the country.

It had instructed to stop the contract process as it lacked transparency as only two companies had entered the pre-qualification process in the first package and only one competed in the second package.

The PAC had instructed the government to stop the competition as only one company was selected from the pre-qualification.

The committee had also instructed the Public Procurement Monitoring Office to remove the obstruction by preparing the necessary documents, guidelines and procedures as soon as possible while proceeding with the contract for the participation of international companies.

However, two days after the directive, the military opened the financial proposals of the two packages selected in the pre-qualification and evaluated them.

The contract agreement process started after the company submitted the financial proposal.

The contract agreement was signed on May 14, 2021, with both the companies so that the construction could be completed within 3 years.

In the first round of bidding for the construction of tunnels and bridges, 21 companies had applied for the first package and 22 companies for the second package.

The Nepal Army had selected two companies for the first package and one in the second.

In the first package, Chinese companies China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd and Poly Changda Engineering Co. Ltd were selected.

The package includes a motorable bridge and road section with a 3,300 meter tunnel to be constructed at Mahadevdanda.

Similarly, only Poly Changda Engineering Corporation of China was selected in the pre-qualification for the second package.

Under this package, two tunnels and a bridge will have to be constructed at a distance of 1.37 km from Simpani in Dhondre of Makawanpur to Chalise Kholsi and 1.4 km from Ghattepakha in Lendanda to Bandrekholsi.

Both the Chinese companies have been informed about the suspension by sending a letter on May 23.

However, the period of suspension has not been mentioned.

The under-construction Kathmandu-Terai Madhes Expressway, under the management of the Army, is a project of national pride and strategic importance. The work is scheduled to be completed in the fiscal year 2080/81.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Baisakh 21, 2074 BS, had given the responsibility of construction of the expressway to the Army. On Bhadra 4, 2076, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the project was approved and the work formally started. The army had claimed that the contract was transparent and lawful as per the Public Procurement Regulations.

The fast track, an Asian Highway Standard Primary Class A standard road, will have three tunnels and bridges.

The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 175 billion. The length of the four-lane expressway will be 72.5 km.

This road will pass through Khokna of Lalitpur, Kathmandu, and Makwanpur and reach Nijgadh of Bara district.


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