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To the Trenches

Growing Concern that Massive Kuta Drainage Project is Falling Badly Behind Schedule.

(4/19/2004) The ongoing construction of a major drainage system that criss-crosses most areas of Kuta with open trenches is appearing increasingly unlikely to be completed by the promised deadline of June 30, 2004.

The project, financed in part by a World Bank loan, has become the object of a lively press debate in recent weeks as Kuta business-owners complain of slow progress, poor supervision and the disruption to business activities resulting from the open trenches that are standing on almost every Kuta thoroughfare, barring access to many shops and restaurants.

Contractors, who have only completed an estimated 30% of the entire project started in January and have a mere 60 days to finish the remaining 70%, are complaining of the lack of accurate data on the existing placement of telephone cables and water pipes as slowing the progress of digging the new drains. Meanwhile, local businesspeople are up in arms threatening to withhold tax payments due to poor supervision of the project and the problems to traffic flow caused by the trenches and ubiquitous piles of dirt. Under the terms of the work project the Contractor is required to haul away all soil to minimize road congestion.

If, as widely feared, the project runs past the June 30 completion deadline the long-suffering businesses in Kuta, still struggling to recover from the fallout of the October 2002 bombing, will see revenues from the much-awaited coming high-season negatively impacted.