Road construction puts settlements in Baglung at risk of landslideSince the monsoon rains intensified in the past two weeks, the district has seen over a dozen landslides.
Baglung saw its first landslide of the year in Kathekhola Rural Municipality last week; the disaster buried several houses and claimed the life of a woman.
Since the monsoon rains have intensified in the past two weeks, the district has seen over a dozen landslides. On Thursday alone, six houses were buried by a landslide under the road leading to Shantipur by way of Sigana and Bareng villages.
In Dhullu Baskot Village of Bareng, two houses are in immediate danger of getting buried by a landslide as a road construction project is underway in the area. Lil Bahadur Khatri, whose house and land is at risk of being swept away, is taking shelter at his neighbour’s house. Despite the rains, gravel work is ongoing at one section of the Mid-Hill Highway, putting Khatri’s and his other neighbour Tek Bahadur Thapa’s houses and land at risk.
“The ongoing construction work has not been properly planned out, with many canals blocked due to landfall, which increases risks of flood,” Shiva Prasad Kandel, chair of ward number. 5 of Kathekhola Rural Municipality, told the Post. The construction work is being carried out jointly by the Infrastructure Development Programme and the Road Department, with a budget of Rs 15million and Rs 10million respectively.
While the road upgradation project puts the lives of Sigana villagers at risk of landslides, many old roads across the district have also developed cracks due to landslides. The drinking water supply chain to the district headquarters of Baglung has been obstructed for the past six days after its water pipe got blocked by a landslide.
“The [road upgradation] work should have been completed a long time ago,” Rajan GC, chair of ward number 8 of Baglung Municipality, said. “It has created further confusion as many under-construction roads are blocked, halting the movement of vehicles.”
Rajendra Dhungana, chair of the District Coordination Committee, said that the authorities’ tendency to start construction work after monsoon starts has increased the risk of disasters like landslides and floods.
“For project officials, it is more important to spend the budget allocated for the current fiscal year than to properly construct roads. This leads to a haphazard construction of roads and disasters,” Dhungana said.