Opening of track linking Taplejung headquarters to China border point elates localsFor the track to reach the Nepal-China border point, the construction company still needs to cut a passage through a nearly one-kilometre rocky cliff face.
Nabin Lama, who runs a rural hospital in Taplejung’s Phaktanglung, remembers the time when he could not take his elderly sick mother to the hospital when her asthma got worse.
The village at the time did not have a motorable road link and given the condition and age of his mother, Lama did not want to ferry her to the hospital on a stretcher or worse, a traditional woven basket.
When the village was linked with a motorable dirt track and a bridge over the Tamor river recently, Lama made the point of bringing his mother to the hospital, so that she could receive medical attention.
Lama’s mother Phupuphuti has been undergoing treatment at the hospital since January 14.
The opening of the motorable track has helped many people living in the remote region of Taplejung. They can now reach the nearest health facilities and markets with much ease and less time. The track has also linked the region with Phungling, the district headquarters.
For the first time in her life, Kabita Limbu of Iladaanda, a village located between Lelep and Olangchungola, had to walk just for an hour to reach her home from Phungling.
“Earlier, it would take me five-seven hours to reach my home on foot from the district headquarters,” Limbu said.
Meanwhile, shopkeepers and other business owners in Phungling are waiting for the track, which is part of the North-South Corridor Project—to be extended all the way up to Tipta-La Bhanjyang, which shares a border with China.
For the track to reach the Nepal-China border point, the construction company still needs to cut a passage through a nearly one-kilometre rocky cliff face.
From there on, Tipta-La Bhanjyang is only eight kilometres away, said Ram Bahadur Gurung, the project chief.
The project is being developed by SB Elite JV Construction Company. The company has opened 25 km of the 32 km track so far.
“Opening the track through the cliffs at Iladaanda and Sukepani is the only challenge standing in our way,” said Gurung.
Rajiv Lamichhane, the project manager of SB Elite JV, said they will have to conduct controlled blasting to open the track along the cliffs.
“We will have to bring the explosive materials after coordinating with the security agencies,” said Lamichhane. “The problem is that there is only one person who has the licence to conduct such operations and he is currently working in Phungling Municipality.”
Lamichhane informed that if there is a conducive environment for the blasting process the remaining track could be opened in two-three months.
Earlier in April 2019, Nepal and China signed the Protocol on Implementing Agreement on Transit and Transport which makes it possible for Nepal to use four Chinese seaports—in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang—and three land ports—in Lanzhou, Lhasa and Shigatse—for third-country import. It will also allow Nepal to carry out exports through six dedicated transit points between Nepal and China.
Taplejung Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Taranath Ghimire said that the government should continue prioritising the road section as it could open multiple business avenues for both nations.