Syaubari-Dhunche-Syaphru section of Pasang Lhamu Highway in dilapidated conditionThe road section, which was severely damaged in the 2015 earthquakes, is riddled with potholes every few metres.
The Syaubari-Dhunche-Syaphru road section of the Pasang Lhamu Highway in Rasuwa is in a dilapidated condition due to lack of repair works for the last four years. The 34km road section was severely damaged during the 2015 earthquakes.
The total length of the highway (from Kathmandu to Syaphru) is 134km and it is the only road link to Rasuwagadhi, connecting Nepal with the Chinese border town of Kerung. Prasunaraj Gurung, a local of Dhunche, said that travelling along the Syaubari-Dhunche-Syaphru road section is risky due to the poor condition of the road, as it is filled with potholes every few metres.
“The road has developed several potholes in the last four years, but none of the authorities have paid attention to repair the road,” said Gurung, adding that the risk is high in this particular road section.
The road section, which sees hundreds of vehicles pass through it every day, is single-laned—further elevating the risk of accidents. On most days, around the Mulkharka area, containers can be found stranded on the highway for their failure to make steep turns and winds. Prem Bulun, a container driver, said that it’s difficult for heavy vehicles to maneuver their way through the highway in the Mulkharka area. “This leads to several containers lining up along the road,” he said.
Over the years, the road has developed to become a major road linking Nepal with China, especially after the Tatopani border point in Sindhupalchok closed due to the damage caused by the earthquakes in 2015. During the last Indian blockade, the road was particularly useful, as Nepal could bring in oil from China using the same route.
Babulal Tamang, chairman of civil society in the district, said that the concerned authority has not paid enough attention to repair the road, which is a crucial link between Nepal and its northern neighbour. “This road also links Dhunche, the district headquarters of Rasuwa, to Kathmandu. Even passenger vehicles are finding it increasingly difficult to move along the Syaubari-Dhunche-Syaphru road stretch,” said Tamang.
A month ago, a meeting of the District Disaster Management Committee had decided to fill the potholes on the road. But the decision is yet to be implemented. The Division Road Office in Nuwakot said that repair works along the highway have not been started yet due to a shortage of construction materials. “It’s difficult to source good gravel from within the district. We are planning to bring in good quality gravel for construction from other districts,” said Niraj Shakya, chief at the office.