Upgradation work of Nagma-Gamgadhi road halted due to funds crunchPoor road conditions have made it difficult to transport daily essentials from Gamgadhi, the district headquarters, to remote areas of Chhayanath Rara Municipality.
The upgradation work of Nagma-Gamgadhi road along the Karnali Highway has been affected due to budget shortage.
In the current fiscal year, the federal government has allocated Rs 97 million for the road upgradation project but the provided budget was spent by October 2020. The construction work has come to a halt since then, according to the Division Road Office in Jumla. The Division Road Office in Jumla oversees road construction works in Mugu.
In the second phase in November, the federal government has allocated an additional Rs 50 million for the road upgradation work.
“The budget is not enough for the second phase as well,” said Lila Bhandari, chief at the Division Road Office. “We have been facing problems in making payments of Rs 120 million to various contractor companies. An additional Rs 200 million is needed just for the construction of roadside canals and retaining walls and gravelling of Nagma-Gamgadhi road section.”
According to the Division Road Office, 34 kilometres of Nagma-Gamgadhi road has been gravelled in the current fiscal year.
“Gravelling works on the remaining 59 kilometres of the road section could not be completed due to budget crunch,” said Bhandari. “The plan was to complete the upgradation work by the end of this fiscal year but it may not be possible.”
Himdung/Thoker, Hira/Namita, Khadka Krishna/Galwa, Baniya and Shankar Construction Services were awarded the contracts for the Nagma-Gamgadhi road upgradation project.
In the current fiscal year, the Division Road Office is going to start tender processes of 10 motorable bridges along the Nagma-Gamgadhi-Nakchenangla road. Nakchenangla is the border point connected to Tibet.
“We need Rs 800 million to construct those bridges. And we have demanded Rs 3 billion from the federal government to blacktop Nagma-Gamgadhi road,” said Bhandari.
The federal government had started the road upgradation work on the Nagma-Gamgadhi road section nine years after it was opened to vehicles. Mugu was connected to the national road network nine years ago.
“Local residents and tourists visiting Rara Lake have been facing difficulties due to the delay in road upgradation work. The road gets muddy during monsoon and becomes dusty during winter, making it difficult for vehicles to pass through it,” said Jaya Bahadur Malla, chairman of District Red Cross in Mugu.
“We are facing difficulties due to poor road conditions. It has been difficult to transport daily essentials from Gamgadhi, the district headquarters, to remote areas of Chhayanath,” said Karna Bahadur Rawal, a local resident of Chhayanath Rara Municipality.
Meanwhile, the construction work to open the Gamgadhi-Nakchenangla road track was started 14 years ago but is still incomplete. So far, only 17 kilometres of the road track has been opened, according to the Division Road Office.
“More than 60 kilometres of the track is yet to be opened. In the current fiscal year, the federal government has allocated Rs 30 million for the road opening project but the allocated budget is not sufficient to complete the project,” said Bhandari.
According to Harichandra Shahi, the ward chairman of Chhayanath Rara Municipality Ward No. 7, his office has requested both the provincial and federal governments to release the necessary budget for the road projects.