Vehicular movement along Pasang Lhamu Highway halted for 10 daysHundreds of containers carrying goods from China lie stranded on the road
Vehicular movement along the Pasang Lhamu Highway has been obstructed for the last 10 days after the Rasuwa section of the road caved in following a landslide at Nakurdung.
The landslide has cut off road access to the Rasuwgadhi border point. Locals, tourists and pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar have been affected since the incident. Hundreds of containers carrying goods from China lie stranded on the road. Goods meant for Dashain and Tihar festivals are stuck at the Rasuwagadhi Customs.
According to Punya Bikram Khadka, chief at the Rasuwagadhi Customs Office, there are around 700 containers in the customs yard. “These are the containers transporting goods for the upcoming Dashain and Tihar festivals,” said Khadka, adding that the customs point faces pressure due to an increasing flow of vehicles.
Traders said that their business has been hampered due to the road blockage. The Mailung-Syaphrubesi road was opened on Tuesday as an alternative. Dharma Paudel, a businessman, said that containers cannot even ply the Mailung-Syaphrubesi section due to its poor condition. “Large containers cannot run along the Mailung-Syaphrubesi road,” said Paudel, adding that the road section was obstructed by landslides this monsoon.
Malfurpa Tamang, ward chairman of Kalika Rural Municipality Ward 1, said that locals have been pressuring the local administration to repair the Ramche-Grang section of the Pasang Lhamu Highway soon. Babulal Tamang, a local man of Dhunche, said that locals are facing difficulties due to the road blockage.
Chief District Officer Arjun Bhandari said that vehicular movement along the road section will resume soon. “We have been coordinating with the Division Road Office in Nuwakot to install gabion boxes filled with stones to plug landslide. Personnel from Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have also been deployed to repair the road section,” Bhandari said.
Rasuwagadhi, which connects Nepal with the Chinese border town of Kerung, has developed as a major trading point after the Tatopani border point in Sindhupalchok was closed due to the damage caused by the earthquakes in 2015. But traders said they have been facing difficulties to transport goods from China due to the road condition.
Niraj Rai, chairman of the Customs Committee under the Nepal Chambers of Commerce, said that the Pasang Lhamu Highway is in a dilapidated condition due to potholes at various places. “Passengers and goods carriers face the landslide risk on the highway. But the concerned authority has not taken initiatives to repair the damaged sections,” said Rai. According to him, traders will be able to transport goods twice as much if the road is improved in the near future.