Frequent landslides obstruct Surkhet-Jumla roadLandslides along the road section have blocked the highway for 23 days within the last five months.
Vehicular movement along the Surkhet-Jumla road section in Karnali Highway was obstructed for three days when a landslide struck Chhapre Village in Tilgufa Ward No. 7 on August 26.
Narendra Khatri, a passenger who was travelling from Manma to Jumla on Friday, said that passengers have to take risk while travelling through the road section.
“One of the passengers inside our jeep was injured when a fallen rock hit the vehicle,” said Khatri.
Ratan Bahadur Shahi, mayor of the municipality, said multiple landslides occur along the road section because of which the road is in poor condition.
“The Division Road Office in Jumla and security personnel from Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police have removed landslides debris from the road. Vehicular movement has resumed now,” said Shahi.
The 232-km Karnali Highway stretches from Bangesimal in Surkhet to Khalanga in Jumla. Landslides along the road section have already obstructed the highway for 23 days within the last five months, according to the Traffic Police Office in Manma.
“We don’t know when the road gets obstructed. Passengers have been greatly inconvenienced by the dilapidated road section,” said Surya Bahadur Shahi, chairman of the Kalikot Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Landslides have also damaged infrastructures including retaining walls and roadside barriers along the Surkhet-Jumla road.
“The pitch has been ruined, and the road has developed potholes,” said Hasta Bahadur Bam, chairman of the Rara Karnali Jeep Committee. Stakeholders said that the road should be immediately repaired at Sunar Khola in Manma, Gagane Khola in Bharta and the Pili and Khallagad areas.
The highway is considered a lifeline for the people of Dailekh, Kalikot and Jumla in the Karnali region. Kali Bahadur Malla, a coordinator at the Kalikot Civil Society, said that the government should take initiatives to upgrade the Karnali Highway.
“The road is narrow and dangerous. The government should upgrade the road from a single-lane to a two-lane road,” said Malla.