Construction of strategic roads in Jajarkot going at a snail’s paceDespite the roads being only partially built, the federal government had not allocated any budget to the road projects in the current fiscal year.
The construction of three strategic roads that link Jajarkot with Jumla is going at a snail’s pace.
Stakeholders say that a lack of budget, confusion between the federal and provincial authorities and negligence of the contractors have delayed the road projects.
The construction of the 80-km-long Jajarkot-Byulidhunga-Jumla road started 12 years ago; however, only 40 km of the track has been opened till date. For that project, around Rs 250 million has already been spent. Another Rs 300 million has been spent to construct the 90-km-long Jajarkot-Chheda-Chande-Jumla section since its construction commenced some 12 years ago. Only 35 km of that stretch has been constructed so far. Similarly, only 30 kms of the 140-km-long Jajarkot-Barekot-Chakhur-Jumla track has been built so far, at a cost of Rs 200 million budget.
“The construction of the strategic roads linking Jajarkot has been affected due to the confusion between the federal and provincial governments,” said Kushal Bhusal, an engineer at the Division Road Office in Chaurjahari. According to him, the authorities have decided to hand over the road projects to the provincial executive, but the roads are yet to be handed over. Bhusal said the federal government had not allocated any budget to the road projects in the current fiscal year.
The construction work has been left in limbo because the tracks are being built without proper survey, says Man Bahadur Rawal, chief of the District Coordination Committee. “Even the few kilometres of tracks that have opened so far are not motorable, not even tractors and jeeps can run along the road,” said Rawal.
Besides these road sections, several other road projects including the Mid-Hill Highway have not been completed in the district, despite it starting almost 10 years ago. Work on the Mid-Hill Highway had started in Jajarkot and its neighbouring districts of Rukum and Dailekh simultaneously. “The road construction was completed in Rukum and Dailekh three years ago. And the road is already in operation in these districts. But the road construction is still incomplete in Mantabhir, Kaldhunga, Thalaha Bazaar, Phalma, Bhuskhola among other area in Jajarkot,” said a local, blaming the road project and the contractor for the delay in the track opening.