Gaur Bazaar section of Malangawa road yet to be asphaltedThe locals in the area complain of poor health conditions because of air pollution caused by the dusty Malangawa-Nawalpur road.
Manoj Thakur, a resident of Gaur Bazaar in Kabilashi Municipality, is allergic to dust. His doctor has advised him to avoid dust, but he hasn’t been able to follow the advice, as his house is adjacent to the dusty Malangawa-Nawalpur road section.
“Everything in my house is always covered in a thin layer of dust. I shut the doors and windows to keep dust from entering, but that doesn’t help much. I have to wear a mask at all times, even when I’m indoors,” said Thakur.
The 26km-long Malangawa-Nawalpur road stretch connects Malangawa, the district headquarters of Sarlahi, with the East-West Highway. Out of the 26 km, around 600 metres of the road section in Gaur Bazaar is yet to be asphalted.
The locals in the area complain of poor health conditions because of air pollution caused by the dusty and dilapidated road section. The construction work of the road section has been left unattended for a long time, said Thakur.
Every day, more than 100 vehicles pass through the road section. Umesh Kapad, a local, said the road sees a heavy flow of vehicles, including trucks and tractors. According to him, locals are suffering from respiratory diseases, common cold and eye problems due to the high level of dust particles in the air.
“The dust pollution has reached a dangerous level these days,” Kapad said.
The construction of the road, which had begun around 15 years ago, was put on hold after the locals of Gaur Bazaar asked the Postal Highway Office in Janakpur to construct a roadside drainage system before continuing with the work.
“But neither the Postal Highway Office nor the contractor company has paid heed to our demands,” said Thakur.
The Constitution of Nepal (2015) guarantees the right regarding a clean environment which states that each person shall have the right to live in a healthy and clean environment.
Rajanikant Jha, a local civil society leader, said the right assured by the constitution has not been implemented in the bazaar area.
“After several protests and obstructions, the concerned authority had finally agreed to build a roadside drainage system and complete the road’s construction. But the construction work has not gained momentum,” said Jha, blaming both government authorities and the contractor company for the delay in the work.
Rajendra Prasad Das, chief at the Postal Highway Office in Janakpur, informed that his office has been talking with the Department of Roads to take initiatives for the construction of roadside drainage in Gaur Bazaar.
“We are also talking with the department to extend the contract deadline since the contract period has already expired,” said Das. “The contractors were unable to asphalt Gaur road section on time due to various land disputes. But we will start blacktopping the road after the deadline’s extension.”
A tender to blacktop the Malangawa-Nawalpur road was invited nine years ago with the financial assistance of the Indian government, but the project could not take off. After the end of the first tender’s deadline, the Department of Roads had reinvited a tender for the same road some five years ago.