Road works stall due to recurring disputeWorks on a 49km stretch of the 362-km long Biratnagar-Khandbari-Kimathanka road section has slowed to a crawl due to a recurring dispute in the local levels.
Works on a 49km stretch of the 362-km long Biratnagar-Khandbari-Kimathanka road section has slowed to a crawl due to a recurring dispute in the local levels.
The project, which will become the shortest road to connect China and India in the eastern region, has been routinely featured on the agendas of political parties during their elections campaigns. However, it has not moved forward.
Of the total length, construction of 200 km section connecting Biratnagar-Khandbari has already been completed. Similarly, 92 km long track has been opened along the 162 km Khandbari-Kimathanka section. Another 21 km is under construction.
The road project which started in 2013 was supposed to be completed by 2015. However, it has been delayed by contractors, citing difficult terrain.
The North-South Koshi Road Project has been contracted to construct the 162 km Khandbari-Kimathanka section. Currently, the project has been working to construct the track along the Kimathanka-Hatiya and Hatiya-Khandbari.
It took the contractor almost three years to open the 14 km long track in the Kimathanka-Hatiya section.
Pashupati Gyawali, chief of the project, said they have opened dirt road from Khandbari to Barun-Dovan of Hatiya. “Vehicles can be operated along the road section now, except during the rainy season,” he said.
Gyawali said only 49 km long track in Dhungegopta-Hatiya section remains to be completed. “After the completion of this section, Kimathanka will be connected with Biratnagar,” said Gyawali. “This remaining 49 km track will be completed in the next two years if works are expedited.” Gyawali said that repeated obstructions from locals were the key reason behind the delay in road construction. “We have been facing hurdles frequently. In almost every new location, we have been facing protests from locals, which take many days to resolve.”
According to him, they also have been facing legal problems mainly due to the design and demarcation of the new track.
The partly constructed road has relieved the transport situation for locals living in Kimathanka. Prior to the road construction, the people were compelled to walk three days to reach Khandbari, headquarter of the district. Now, it is a 12 hour drive.
The project has contracted various construction companies to work on different road segments. The contract of the segment connecting Tejukhola of Hatiya to Hangdak Khola has been awarded to Gajurmukhi Nirman Sewa.
The road section in Kimathanka-Chhumsur is contracted to Apex Construction and the contract of segment in Facksinda-Tejukhola is provided to Yakthumba JV. Of these, the construction of Kimathanka-Chhumsur and Facksinda-Tejukhola road has been going at slow pace.
Wangdung Bhote, a local at Chepuwa of Bhotkhola Rural Municipality, said the local people have been longing for the speedy construction work as they are keen to travel in vehicles to visit Khandbari.