By Siraj Khan, Nepalgunj, Apr. 7: Construction of canal of the under-construction Sikta Irrigation Project in Banke categorized as a national pride project has been affected in absence of the engineers and technicians.
According to the project, constructed has been impacted as only seven technicians were employed although there are 16 vacancies for engineers and technicians of officer levels in the project.
Head of the Sikta Project, Lok Bahadur Thapa, said that the project has not been going smoothly and steadily as the continuous request to fill the remaining nine vacancies that includes engineers and technicians has not been heard.
He said that there are problems in construction of sub-canal, contracts, repair of main canal for the lack of adequate engineers and technicians.
The head of the project said, a lot of construction work is not going smoothly along with the vacancies for three senior divisional engineers for estimation of design for infrastructure after the acquisition of land, vacancies for three other engineers has laid vacant for a long duration.
According to the project, the vacancies for the mechanical engineers to operate the head box and modern technical control room of the project have not been fulfilled since long. The project is being built with an investment of three billion rupees.
Even though water is being released from the main canal of western side, vacancies of agriculture engineers and sociologists to facilitate the farmers for improving productivity and marketing are still vacant.
Thapa said that even though the budget of Rs 1.50 billion had been appropriated for the current fiscal year, only 50 percent progress in physical and fiscal work has been made due to the lack of employees.
Despite frequent visits to this national pride project from the concerned minister and head of the department, nobody took step to fulfill the vacancies. “Set aside the question of fulfilling the vacant positions, those who are posted here are also being sent elsewhere. In this scenario, it is a serious question as to how it is possible to proceed the project," the officer complained.
The Commission of Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had filed a case against some employees of the project some two years ago and some of the cases are still pending. This has made many employees get transferred from the project and unwilling to come to the project.
68 percent work has been completed in the project that was started some 15 years ago. The project was supposed to complete by 2075. Investment for the project was estimated to be Rs 12.70 billion in the initial period but Rs. 16.61 billion has been spent so far to complete 68 percent work.
The project has objective to irrigate 43 thousand hectare of agricultural land in Banke district, but at present irrigation facility has reached to 16 thousand hectare of land.