Although it is mandatory to put information board about the development projects above the cost of Rs 200 thousand at project sites, many of the development works in Tikapur Municipality of Kailali district failed it.
The lax implementation of the provision is bound to raise public eyebrows. It also raises innumerable questions regarding the project.
Take the construction of Nari Shilpa Building under the Sudurpaschim Physical Infrastructures Programmes of Tikapur Municipality for instance. The project is nearing completion but there was no any information board set up nearby.
The information board containing vital information about the projects aims to educate the public about the project as well as aids in maintaining fiscal transparency. Lack of information board in soon-to-be-completed Nari Shilpa Building has begun drawing flak from the locals.
There are two projects running under the under-construction building. Although the construction of the building continues uninterrupted during the prohibitory order, the contractors did not bother to put an information board, leaving the locals in dark about the intention of the contractors.
Nari Shilpakala Chairperson Krishna Bhandari admitted her ignorance about notice board. She said, “We did not know that the information board should be put in place since the beginning of the project. As it has come to our knowledge, we will put information board in a day or two.”
Another building -Khaptad Cultural Family Building- is also under construction at the cost of Rs 1 million under the Province Physical Infrastructures Development Programme. The project also lacked the information board although it is about to be completed.
Bhaktaraj Devkota, Chairperson of the organization which is constructing the building, shared, “We are preparing to put stone script upon the completion of construction.”
According to him, putting information board meant unnecessary expenses which needed to be cut down. If there were any mandatory provision for the information board, we would consider putting one after the project is completed, he said unenthusiastically.
These were small-scale projects. Contractors of mega projects one for Tikapur 1 Block No A which is under-construction at the cost of over Rs 90 million also failed to share information about the project. It began two years ago.
Municipality engineer Nabin Ojha informed that the municipality allocates Rs 2,000 for information board while estimating the budget for any projects above Rs 200,000.
He admitted that majority of the contractors here put information project towards the end of the project instead of the onset. They do monitor the projects routinely, yet they have not been able to take strict action against erring contractor due to lax implementation of the rule to book flouting contractors, he added.
To this, Sudur Paschim Province Assembly member Rana Bahadur Rawal, acknowledged this small yet significant issue and said although the issue seemed normal and regular one, it was a grave lapse on the part of the contractors and their attentions had not been drawn towards the issue.
“It is citizen's right to information about government projects. Nobody should be deprived of the right to information. We had not been able to pay attention to it. Now, the issue has come to our knowledge. We will instruct the provincial government to take stern action against contractors defying it,” he pledged.
Source: National News Agency Nepal