Construction of bridges along Tamor corridor in limboTo avoid travel disruption during the monsoon, local residents have been demanding that the road project build bridges at the earliest.
The construction of the Tamor corridor, a road linking eastern hill districts to Tarai, is in the final stage. According to the Tamor corridor road project, around 97 percent of work on the Dhankuta-Panchthar section of the corridor has been completed as of now.
The people of Dhankuta, Panchthar and Taplejung districts have hugely benefited since the corridor came into operation a couple of months ago. However, the construction of 14 bridges along the 153km long road passing through Sunsari, Dhankuta, Panchthar and Taplejung is yet to begin, making travel difficult for passengers, especially during the rainy season.
“The corridor road project should have been completed last year but it got delayed mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dan Bahadur Shakya, chief at the Tamor corridor project office in Panchthar. “Around 97 percent work of the road project has been completed so far. The road will come into operation within a few months.”
The road project commenced in the fiscal year 2018-19 at the estimated cost of Rs7 billion. The two-lane road has been constructed from Chatara of Sunsari to Ganesh Chowk of Panchthar district through Mulghat, Dhankuta. The construction of the Tamor corridor has reduced the distance and time to travel the eastern hill districts through Mechi and Koshi highways by almost half.
To avoid travel disruption during the monsoons, the locals have been demanding that the road project build bridges at the earliest.
“It is not possible to travel through the corridor during the rainy season as there are no bridges. We go through this problem every year during the rainy season,” said Narendra Khadka, a resident of Tumbewa in Panchthar.
“The road project plans to invite tenders for the construction of eight among 14 bridges within six months. Preparations are underway to invite tenders,” said Amindra Khadka, an engineer at the road project.
The road project has also awarded a contract to construct a 50km long road from Panchthar to Taplejung at a cost of Rs 660 million. According to engineer Khadka, the Panchthar-Taplejung section of the Tamor corridor is expected to be completed within two years.
The completion of the Tamor corridor will be instrumental in infrastructure development of the eastern hill districts since the corridor does not only link the remote settlements of Dhankuta, Panchthar and Taplejung to Tarai but it also directly helps in the development of health and education sectors and the economy of the rural markets, says Rajendra Kumar Rai, a lawmaker to the federal parliament representing Dhankuta.
“It will also stem out migration from the hill districts, which has become a major issue of late,” he said.
Meanwhile, the blacktopping of the corridor is still in limbo. The road project says it has requested the federal finance ministry for Rs5.78 billion for blacktopping but the ministry is yet to approve the plan.
“We plan to construct the bridges and blacktop the road simultaneously. The blacktopping work will begin soon after the ministry approves the plan,” said Shakya.