SURKHET, April 21: Construction of a suspension bridge over Karnali river, which would connect Satla of Dailekh to Bhairabsthan of Achham, is still in a limbo as the Achham District Development Committee is yet to give the project a go-ahead.
Locals had obstructed the Upper Karnali hydroelectricity project being undertaken the Indian company, Gandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (GMR) group, in March 2009 demanding that a suspension bridge be built across the river.
Subsequently, GMR had signed Rs 10 million contract with Kathmandu based Radha Structure for the construction of the bridge some five months ago. In addition, it had also agreed to construct primary health center and child care center in Ramaghat, Dailekh, a building for library in Basundhara Secondary School in Achham.
Locals claim that the Achham DDC is refusing to permit construction of the bridge due to Maoists´ pressure. “Dailekh had given permission a month ago but Achham has not given due to Maoist pressure,” coordinator of the Upper Karnali Stakeholders´ Committee Bam Bahadur GC claimed.
Pradeep Nepal at Surkhet Contact Office of GMR said Achham DDC had sent them back saying the permission for construction would be given after discussions. “We are in contact with the DDC and the construction will start soon,” Nepal said.
As per the deal, Radha Construction has to complete construction of the bridge by September.
Officials at Achham DDC admitted that the permission was denied due to lack of political consensus. “We couldn´t give permission after a few political parties raised questions against GMR,” acting Local Development Officer (LDO) Khadka Bista said. “Now that we have found political consensus, we will give permission soon,” he assured.