Siddhartha Highway riddled with potholesHaphazard construction of roads, buildings and shops on the roadside using heavy machinery has damaged the road in several places.
The Syangja section of the Siddhartha Highway is in a dilapidated condition due to haphazard construction works, say local residents.
“The blacktopped road along the Syangja section of the highway is riddled with potholes,” said Dilip Rana Magar, a bus driver.
The Syangja section covers 82 kilometres of the highway from Kubhide to Ramdi.
According to local residents, haphazard construction of roads, buildings and shops on the roadside has damaged the road in several places.
“Excavators and dozers are being used on land plots adjoining the road to construct buildings. This has created potholes and caused the land to sink,” said Magar. “The road becomes dusty during winter and muddy during monsoon season. It’s very risky to drive through it.”
Rajendra Sharma, a resident of Putalibazar Municipality Ward No. 12 in Syangja, says the local residents have been greatly inconvenienced by the numerous potholes on the road.
According to Sharma, landslide debris of previous years have yet to be cleared along the Syangja road section.
“Driving through the road section gets very risky during the monsoon season. The concerned authorities should first clear the landslide debris and manage roadside canals to clear the path for vehicles,” said Sharma.
The condition of the road from Kubhinde to Pokhara is also similar.
“There are massive potholes along the road section, making it risky to drive through,” said Maya Pokharel, a resident of Prithvi Chowk in Pokhara.
Babural Pokharel, a bus driver, says there is a high risk of accidents due to the poor road condition along the highway.
“Vehicle maintenance expenses have also increased along with the risk of accidents because of the bad road condition,” said Pokharel.
The roadside drainage along the highway, linking Pokhara to Bhairahawa, has been blocked and damaged by floods and landslides at several places. The lack of timely repair of the damaged drainage is one of the main causes behind the poor road condition.
Similarly, the construction and widening of feeder roads have also caused damages to the highway, say local residents.
“The local government does not fill up the potholes and repair the damaged road, stating that Siddhartha Highway is under the federal government,” said Sharma. “The local units prioritise feeder roads while ignoring the condition of the highway.”
Laxmi Bhandari, chief at the District Infrastructure Development Office in Syangja, echoes Sharma’s sentiments. Bhandari said the provincial and local governments prioritised building and maintaining feeder roads and neglected the maintenance of the highway.
“The rural roads are blacktopped and in good condition while the highway is in such a pathetic state,” he said, adding that the rural roads are much safer now than the highway.
Meanwhile, Chhayaram Khanal, mayor of Bhirkot Municipality in Syangja, blamed the federal government for the poor condition of the highway.
“We have repeatedly raised questions regarding the dilapidated condition of the highway. The local units do not have the required budget and the federal government does not take initiatives to repair the highway,” said Khanal.