September 27: The construction of the Kakadbhitta-Inaruwa section of the East-West Electric Railway has been halted for more than a year due to the flawed process of awarding contracts to lay the track-bed through hastily announced tender bids.
The Department of Railways had called for tender bids on June 28 and 30, 2020 to construct the track-bed of the 106 kilometer section in 54 different packages. The department had called for the tender bids worth Rs 28 billion within a span of three days.
Director General of the Department of Railways Deepak Kumar Bhattarai says that such tenders can be issued only after determining the rate of land and distribution of compensation to those affected by the project.
It is estimated that the construction of the track-bed of the railway will require more than 700 bighas of land in Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts.
Bhattarai admitted that tender for any project can be issued only after proper study and preparation.
“There were problems in land acquisition due to the hasty decision,” says Bhattarai about the decision taken by his predecessor.
The Department of Railways was headed by Balaram Mishra when the flawed decision took place.
The flawed decision to issue the tender was subsequently challenged in court. The Patan High Court scrapped the contracts awarded through the tenders on September 8, 2020.
The department is still yet to sort out the land acquisition issue before it can start the actual construction.