Locals worry homes will be inundated due to expansion of Ghinaghat-Biratchok roadThe Province 1 government has been expanding 22.7 km of the road into four lanes with a design that doesn’t take into account the locals living along the road.
The Ghinaghat-Biratchok road in Morang district is going to be expanded to a four-lane road. But because the road is being constructed on a high plane, all the run-off drainage water is expected to pour into settlement areas on both sides of the road, which will increase the risk of floods in monsoon, locals say.
Ladhuram Chaudhary, a local of Gramthan Rural Municipality Ward No. 5, said that roadside drains are as tall as two to three feet (in height). “But our houses are on the ground surface. As the road and roadside drains lie on a raised surface, the floodwaters will not flow towards the drains. It will come into our settlement for sure,” said Chaudhary.
Ramadevi Biswas, a local of Gramthan Rural Municipality Ward No. 5, said her family has no money to demolish their old house and construct a new one, on somewhere higher than the road surface). She said, “Somehow we have been maintaining our daily livelihood by cultivating paddy, but we cannot bear more expenses.”
The government of Province-1 has been expanding 22.7 km of the road (Ghinaghat to Biratchok) into a four-lane road. The Physical Infrastructure Development Office, Morang, which is under the provincial government, has granted a tender of the construction work at a total cost of Rs 1.37 billion.
Krishna Hari Pokharel, an engineer, said technicians should inspect the field before preparing the Detailed Project Report, a design and a map of the road projects. “The development work should not force people to leave their settlements. These kinds of problems have occurred, as most of the technicians prepare project reports and designs without proper field survey,” said Pokharel.
According to the Physical Infrastructure Development Office, roadside drains are constructed to drain water out of the road and its construction is their only job. Sushil Shrestha, chief at the office, said that the roadside drains are being constructed as per the design of the road. “It’s the work of the local unit to drain out water from the settlement,” said Shrestha.
This situation is not only limited to Ghinaghat-Biratchok road. The provincial government has been constructing most of the roads in Biratnagar and other areas of Province-1 in the same design. Rebatiraman Parajuli, the spokesperson of the Ministry of the Physical Infrastructure Development, said the roadside drains are designed along with the design of the roads. “The government has set the rule to construct a road (1.5 to 2 feet) above the land surface. If the roads are not constructed to that height, all of the roads and roadside canals could be inundated during monsoon,” said Parajuli, adding that they will also search alternatives to drain out the water from the settlements (if they do get inundated during monsoon).In the current fiscal year, the Division Road Office in Biratnagar, which is under the federal government, has been constructing 52 roads (under the Tarai Madhes Infrastructure Development Programme) in Morang and Sunsari districts. Jahada Chakrapath, Laxmimarg-Karsiya-Khairbana, Rangeli-Ramchok-Sisbani Jahada Nagar, Nocha-Majhare, Katahari-Majhare and Bardanga-Aambari-Urlabari among other roads and roadside drains are being constructed on raised surfaces. The government has allocated Rs 520 million for the Tarai Madhes Infrastructure Development Programme.