Road blockage creates shortage of daily essential in ManangEven though the mounds of mud across Besishar-Chame road have been cleared, vehicular movement is still at least a week away. The roadblock means scarcity of daily essentials in Manang.
On Thursday, four friends from Kathmandu’s Sankhu were on a trip to Manang, on their motorcycles. They rode across the notoriously difficult areas such as Arkhale and Chyamche, albeit with considerable difficulty and risk. When they reached the Myardi river, where a bailey bridge is under construction, they had to carry their bikes across. Once on the other side, the four companions resumed their journey, only to be stopped just about 200 metres ahead. This time they were faced by a landslide at Myardi Bhir. It was here that the group realised their trip had ended. They returned to Kathmandu without reaching their destination, as the landslide at Myardi Bhir had rendered the road impassable.
“We were well-aware about the frequent landslides in the area. But we didn’t expect a landslide of this scale,” Nirjal KC, one of the four friends, told the Post. “We should have waited until the winter to undertake this journey.”
The landslide at Myardi Bhir has taken a toll, particularly on the people of Manang. The dirt track is a lifeline for the people of the mountain district.
Bil Bahadur Tamang, who transports daily essentials from Dharapani in Manang to Larke Pass in Gorkha, said the road obstruction has threatened his business.
“The road may open today, but it will get blocked tomorrow,” Tamang said. “Sometimes, we get stuck mid-way.”
Padam Kumari Gurung, a woman from Naso Rural Municipality, said there has been an acute shortage of daily essentials like salt and rice in her area after the landslide.
“We would have taken a trip on foot to get the foodstuffs if it were not for the boulders that roll down the hill during landslides,” said Gurung.
According to Deepak Khadka, who drives a jeep along the road stretch, vehicles currently reach only up to the Myardi River.
He complained the Division Road Office has been delaying the resumption of vehicle movement.
Frequent landslides are caused due to weak topography of the region, according to Jhalak Bahadur Gurung, chief of Naso Rural Municipality Ward No. 1.
“The 2015 earthquakes further weakened the topographical integrity of hills. This has led to frequent landslides in the area,” Gurung said.
The Besishahar-Chame road stretch was completed in 2012. But the road has not been repaired despite the damage and destruction caused by landslides and flash floods over the years.
All that the Division Road Office ever does in case of landslides and floodings is clear the debris and mud, said Khadka.
It was about two weeks ago that the mud accumulated at the Myardi Bhir was cleared, according to Suman Adhikari, sub-engineer at Division Road Office in Damauli.
The road reopened after 17 days on Sunday. However, the vehicular movement is yet to resume, owing to the slow pace of work at the construction site of the bailey bridge. Manang residents are looking forward to the formal completion of the bailey bridge.
The bridge was swept away by the flash floods on June 23. Adhikari said that the bridge will be motorable after a week. People have started crossing the river through the bridge but it is yet to be fully prepared for vehicular movement, according to Adhikari.
As for the landslide situation at Myardi Bhir, the rainfall has been incessant and the hillside is still witnessing occasional mudslides and rockfalls.