Landslide-damaged Baglung road yet to be repairedAt least Rs 2.4 million is needed to repair the road but the authority concerned says it does not have the required budget.
Vehicular movement along the Baglung-Kushmisera road in Baglung has been obstructed for the last three months due to multiple landslides.
Around 21 kilometres of the road, which was blacktopped earlier this year, have been damaged by landslides in several places while some sections have been completely swept away, according to residents of Baglung Municipality.
Landslides in Galuwa, Ward 10 of Baglung Municipality have not only obstructed vehicular movement but has also made foot movement difficult. Galuwa settlement, with a total of 15 households, is also at risk of landslides. However, the Division Road Office in Baglung has not taken any steps to mitigate the risk of the impending disaster, say locals.
“We do not have the budget to repair the road. That’s why we have not even visited the site for inspection,” said Mukunda Prasad Lamichhane, acting chief at the Division Road Office in Baglung.
People living in wards 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Baglung Municipality and the residents of Jaimini Municipality and Bareng Rural Municipality, which lie towards the south of Baglung bazaar, the district headquarters of Baglung, have been affected because of the road blockage.
“Residents of Jamini have to bring in daily essentials through a suspension bridge from Kushma, the district headquarters of Parbat district. We have been facing hardships due to the delay in road repair,” said Laxmi Prasad Sapkota, ward chairman of Jaimini-2. “The Division Road Office has not taken any initiatives to clear the landslide debris and repair the damaged road sections.”
Local residents blame the construction of a rural road in Galuwa last year for the current state of the Baglung-Kushmisera road.
“Flood waters from the newly constructed rural road entered the Baglung-Kushmisera road and swept away around 100 metres of the road section during the monsoon. Retaining walls could have saved the road, but the concerned authority did not take any initiatives to construct them on time,” said Narayan Rijal, a resident of Baglung Municipality Ward 13.
According to technicians at Baglung Municipality, at least Rs 2.4 million is needed to repair the damaged road sections. But the local unit does not have the required budget for the work.
“We have asked for a budget from the Department of Roads for road repairs. But we cannot do anything until the department allocates a budget,” said Lamichhane.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Baglung Municipality Janakraj Paudel said his office cannot allocate a budget for the road repair, as the Baglung-Kushimisera road falls under the jurisdiction of the Division Road Office.
“It’s the responsibility of the Division Road Office to repair the road,” said Paudel.
Because of the road blockage, many vehicles are taking an alternate route through Tityang-Bhakunde road, which is an eight-kilometre curved route, to reach Baglung bazaar from the southern part of the district.
“The road condition is not good. It is very risky to drive through the landslide-damaged road. We have been taking alternate routes to reach our destination,” said Raju Sharma, a jeep driver in Balewa.
However, the landslide debris in Galuwa cannot be removed anytime soon, according to Gaurab Sharma, an engineer of Baglung Municipality.
“The roadside area should be cut to open the road. For that, the Division of Road will need to use some of the land plots of the locals,” Sharma said.
According to Sharma, it is necessary to repair the road as soon as possible to stop further erosion in the area.