Narayanghat-Butwal road widening delays increase health riskEducational institutions, business enterprises and private houses have been greatly affected by dust pollution.
The Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City has drawn the attention of the Butwal-Narayanghat road expansion project regarding the delay in the completion of the project as the unfinished project has not only affected human health but also increased the hardship of local businesses.
Mayor Khel Raj Pandey on Wednesday met Pradeep Raj Shakya, chief of the project and the project consultants Subham Saiju and Suresh Bista and requested them to expedite the project.
It generally takes two to three hours to cover the road stretch from Butwal to Narayanghat. However, ever since the Narayanghat-Butwal road expansion project began in 2019, travel time has more than doubled.
In February 2019, the Department of Roads signed an agreement with China State Construction Engineering Corporation to implement the road project. As per the plan, the existing two-lane road has to be widened to six lanes within four years.
The contractor had divided the Narayanghat-Butwal road into two sections—the 48km Daunne-Gaidakot section and the 66 km Daunne-Butwal section. The road expansion work along the 114km Narayanghat-Butwal stretch was initiated with Rs17 billion loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank.
The delayed road expansion work has left the travellers and locals in hardships.
The roadside settlements are covered in thick layers of dust along the Narayanghat-Butwal road section due to the widening works. Educational institutions, business enterprises and other community offices have been greatly affected by dust pollution.
The local traders and business communities also complain that their businesses have been hit hard due to the delay in the road expansion work.
During the meeting, mayor Pandey said that the delay has increased health-related risks for the nearby settlement.
“Initially the road expansion was said to be commenced from Butwal’s side, but the project work has not been going as promised. So, we request the project to begin the work considering the situation of Butwal city. We are ready for any kind of help and cooperation needed for the project,” said Pandey.
Shakya committed to increasing the pace of work. “We are preparing to get into rapid action right after the election,” he said.
A total of 22 bridges and culverts are under construction in the eastern part of the road project. One such culvert is being constructed in the Gaindakot area.
A road track has been constructed in the area to divert traffic. Pollution in the area has worsened ever since the road track was opened.
According to the road project, the issue of felling trees along the road, shifting electricity poles from the roadside and the Covid-19 pandemic are the leading causes behind the project delay.
The project said it could not initiate the road expansion work as the number of trees to be cut down along the road stretch was fivefold more than what is mentioned in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report.