Beni-Jomsom road section badly damaged due to landslidesThe road stretch that connects the eastern and southern corners of Gandaki Province is highly vulnerable to landslides.
The 38-km road section that connects Myagdi’s headquarters Beni to Lete in Mustang has been badly damaged due to consistent landslides over the past two weeks.
The road stretch along the edges of the Kaligandaki River that connects the eastern and southern corners of Gandaki Province is highly vulnerable to landslides. The locals that live along the banks of the river live with perpetual fear of landslides.
Over two dozen landslides have occurred in the region over the past two weeks. The Rahughat Bailey Bridge collapsed due to landslides last week, obstructing the movement of vehicles.
Devendra Bahadur KC, chief of the District Coordination Committee, Myagdi, says that the landslides brought down the bridge because of its faulty design and a lack of monitoring in the road construction.
“The road project is as equally liable to the collapse of the bridge as the natural disaster,” he said.
A concrete bridge near the collapsed bridge was slated to be constructed but the contractor, Sharma/United Builders JC Kathmandu, has not proceeded to work on it for a year. The foundations for the bridge have been dug up, which, KC said, is one of the reasons the bailey bridge was damaged.
Ashok Tiwari, chief of the road project, said that attempts have been made to mend the bridge and restart vehicular movement. “We are hoping to restart vehicular movement along the road by mid-August,” he said.
But the effects of landslides is pervasive across other sections of the road as well. Landslides occur regularly in Chamere and Bainsari sections. A flood three years ago had swept away another bailey bridge in Begkhola, but the bridge is yet to be rebuilt. Vehicles have to drive through the river itself. Landslides occur regularly in Dana, Kaprebhir and Badarjugbhir too.
“The landslides have obstructed not only vehicular movement but the movement of pedestrians as well,” Reeta Baruwal, a local of Badarjugbhir, said.
The road section is being uplifted but the work is progressing very slow, said Dam Bahadur Garbuja, chief of Annapurna Rural Municipality in Myagdi.
“Various sections of the road stretch are under construction which has only increased the risks of landslides,” he said. “The work should have been completed quickly but a rough topography coupled with slow work have further increased the risk of landslides.”