BP Highway sees heavy traffic in days before electionsThousands of people are leaving for their home districts to exercise their franchise.
Traffic has significantly increased along BP Highway, the shortest route that connects Kathmandu Valley with the eastern Tarai region, in the past few days as voters are returning home for the local level elections slated for Friday. People from Sindhuli and various districts of Madhes and Province 1 have been using the 158km long highway linking Dhulikhel of Kavre district to Bardibas of Mahottari district.
Thousands of people who live in Kathmandu for work, studies, business or other purposes are going to their home districts to exercise their franchise.
“I am returning home to elect representatives in my local unit. Even a single vote matters during the elections,” said Umesh Panjiyar of Yadukuwa in Dhanusha district. Panjiyar lives and works in Kathmandu but his name has been registered in the electoral roll in Dhanusha.
According to him, many voters like him are returning to their hometowns to take part in the local polls. “The opportunity to choose our representatives does not always come. Responsible voters should take part in the elections to choose competent leaders. And we can meet our family members, friends, relatives and neighbours in the name of elections,” said Panjiyar.
Krishna Thapa, an elderly man from Sunsari district, is also excited to cast vote in the local elections.
“I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to exercise my franchise again. One should not throw away the opportunity to vote for their representatives,” said Thapa, who’s temporarily in Kathmandu for treatment. “My treatment is still ongoing so I will have to return to Kathmandu after the elections. I decided to go home just to cast my vote.”
People from several districts, including Dhankuta, Ilam, Jhapa, Udayapur, Okhaldhunga, Bhojpur, Khotang, Solukhumbu, Sunsari, Morang, Siraha, Saptari, Dhanusha, Sarlahi and Rautahat, are returning home using the BP Highway.
According to the District Traffic Police Office in Sindhuli, the highway has been seeing tremendous traffic pressure of late.
“Traffic has increased significantly in the past few days. Earlier, 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles used to run along the highway on a daily basis. But now, more than 7,000 vehicles are using the highway in a day,” said Jung Karki, the chief of the District Traffic Police Office.
“Besides regular passenger vehicles, many reserved and private vehicles are also in operation for the elections. We are trying our best to manage the traffic and send the vehicles to their destinations,” he added.
Many political parties and their candidates have reserved scores of vehicles to take their voters to the election booths.
BP Highway is the shortest route that links Kathmandu to eastern Tarai. The highway, inaugurated by the late Prime Minister Sushil Koirala in July 2015, reduces the total travel distance by 150 kms i.e, by four hours. The construction of the road that began in 1995 was completed in March 2015 with the grant assistance of Rs 21.5 billion (26 billion Japanese Yen) from the Government of Japan.
Although the highway was set to be constructed in 1958 during the tenure of the then Prime Minister BP Koirala, the project could not take off following the political change in 1960.