No solution in sight for the deadlock surrounding Mid-hill Highway’s construction in Lamjung sectionA total of 813 houses would be brought down if the current policy of the city development committee holds.
The construction of Mid Hill Highway in Lamjung has made little progress in the last six years, owing to the obstruction caused by the locals of Sundarbazaar and Bhorletar.
The residents of two settlements have long opposed the government’s plan to build the highway, a national pride project, as the proposed motorway route cuts through their homes. They say that the highway project could displace them.
The people of Sundarbazaar and Bhorletar have forbidden the project officials from even conducting the detailed project report (DPR) survey in their areas.
The proposed highway covers a distance of 41km in Lamjung district, out of which 8km stretch falls in Sundarbazaar and 1km in Bhorletar.
Uttam Gurung, who has been leading the protest against the project, said 813 households would be rendered homeless if they allow the highway to pass through their settlements.
“The government plans to build the highway with the proposed width of 31 metres. If the project is allowed to continue, it would invariably wipe out our settlements,” Gurung said.
He added that the government has not even announced any plan for land compensation.
After the project was hit by repeated obstructions, the government of Gandaki Province had last year formed a task force under its Industry, Forestry and Tourism Minister Ramsharan Basnet to find a solution.
The task force has already submitted its report to Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung after surveying the proposed route of the highway and collecting feedback from the locals of Sundarbazaar and Bhorletar.
“The majority of locals were against the idea of building the highway through the settlements,” Basnet said.
There has been no official response to the report from the provincial government so far.
The residents of Sundarbazaar and Bhorletar have asked the government to find an alternative route for the proposed highway, the one that does not pass through their homes.
“What we are proposing is a cost-effective solution, but the government has not listened,” Gurung said.