Most roads in Ramechhap are unmotorableKeeping in view the poor condition of rural roads, all three governments—federal, provincial and local—have prioritised road upgradation work in the current fiscal year.
The district covers an area of 1,546 square kilometres and has a population of 202,646, according to the National Census of 2011. Ram Chandra Biyogi, the coordinator of the Citizen Forum in the district, said the expansion of road networks has connected remote villages to local bazaar areas.
“But the rural roads become unmotorable during the monsoon and summer, as the roads turn muddy when it rains and the summer heat raises a dust storm,” said Biyogi.
Keeping in view the poor condition of rural roads, all three governments—federal, provincial and local—have prioritised road upgradation work in the current fiscal year. The Bagmati Provincial Government allocated more than Rs 1 billion to upgrade roads in Ramechhap district. Until now, only 50 km of a total of 4,000 km of road in the district has been blacktopped.
“The entire budget allocated for road construction this fiscal year will be used in blacktopping and upgrading the existing roads. The local units should prioritise the upgradation and blacktopping of roads rather than opening new tracks. Meanwhile, the federal and provincial governments will focus on large-scale road projects,” said Kailash Dhungel, minister for Financial Affairs and Planning of Bagmati Province.
Road upgradation works have gathered momentum in the district lately, as the government authorities adopted strong measures to hold accountable the construction companies responsible for delays.
“We have instructed authorities concerned to blacklist the contractors that delay development projects and not to extend the deadlines of road projects,” he said.
According to Somraj Timilsina, chief of the infrastructure development office in Ramechhap, the Sitkha-Pakarbas-Gagal road section and Manthali-Pakarbas-Galwa road section will be blacktopped in the current fiscal year.
“Road upgradation works, including the construction of roadside drainage and retaining walls, are ongoing in the district. The construction should be completed soon,” said Timilsina.
Sabita Ruchal, a resident of Pakarbas, says the upgradation of the Manthali-Pakarbas-Galwa road section has benefitted many in her village.
“Travelling during the rainy season used to be difficult. Now, it has become much more comfortable and risk-free,” says Ruchal.
According to her, during monsoons, Pakarbas would get disconnected from Manthali and other parts of Ramechhap.
“In the current fiscal year, all eight rural municipalities in the district have prioritised blacktopping the existing roads,” said Ramesh Kumar Basnet, mayor of Manthali.
According to Basnet, the municipality has already blacktopped Manthali Ring Road and has invited tender to blacktop other road sections.
In preparation for the monsoons, Gokulganga Rural Municipality has launched a campaign to upgrade its rural roads for uninterrupted and safe transportation services.
“We want to get the roads blacktopped by the monsoon,” said Khadga Bahadur Sunuwar, chairman of the municipality.
The expansive road network in the district has also worked in favour of local farmers by connecting them with markets in Manthali. Tika Lama, a local farmer in Okreni, recalls the time when he had to carry produce from his fields to Manthali. But after the opening of the Okhreni-Manthali road, Lama has started growing vegetables for commercial supply.
“It’s only an hour’s drive from Manthali to Okhreni. This has encouraged farmers to grow agricultural products on a larger scale,” he said. “We heard that the local government is upgrading rural roads. This will work to our benefit and hopefully, our products will go beyond Manthali,”