Construction of the Tinau corridor starts, but conservationists decry the moveA total of Rs450 million has been allocated for the corridor in the current fiscal year.
To promote tourism in Lumbini, the federal government has started the construction of the Tinau corridor in Rupandehi district.
The Tinau river, which originates in Palpa district, bifurcates from Tinau bridge at Butwal. The separated river is known as Danab river. These two rivers again meet at Mayadevi Rural Municipality.
As part of the Tinau corridor, a two-lane road (seven metres wide) is being constructed on both sides of the rivers. In the fiscal year 2018/19, the Department of Roads had prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the road. “In the first phase, 35 kms of the road will be constructed along the Tinau river and 15 kms will be constructed near the Danab river,” said Meghraj Marasini, chief at the Division Road Office in Butwal. “Retaining walls will also be constructed on both sides of the Tinau river. The road will also have a boulevard (3 metres wide) and a footpath on both sides.”
The first phase of the corridor will start from Chidiyakhola in Butwal, which will be linked to Bhairahawa-Lumbini road stretch. In the second phase, the road will expand up to Marchawar area of Sammarimai Rural Municipality along the Nepal-India border area.
Bishnu Paudel, former finance minister who is General Secretary of Nepal Communist Party, said that they have started the construction of the corridor to develop the area as a tourist destination. He said, “Tourists who come to visit Lumbini can also visit the corridor.”
A total of Rs 450 million has been allocated for the construction of the corridor in the current fiscal year. The Division Road Office in Butwal will start the construction process in accordance with the Detailed Project Report.
Marasini said that tenders will be called on the basis of the report for the corridor this year. “We will work with Butwal Sub Metropolis and Shankar Nagar area in Tilottama this year,” said Marasini, adding that the construction work of other areas will be initiated in the next fiscal year.
River experts, however, are unhappy with the unfolding of events. They say that the Tinau river needs 237 metres of river area (the space from where water flows), but currently, the river area covers only 50 to 70 metres (in breadth). Khetraj Dahal, an expert on river management and biodiversity, has advised the concerned authority to verify the exact area of the river before starting construction of the road—to avoid future risks. “In-depth research and studies should be conducted before the authorities move ahead with the construction. Any project of this calibre must first be studied thoroughly to avoid flood risks,” he said.
Marasini, however, said that they have invited experts to study the river area before construction begins in full swing.
Yubaraj Kandel, a local resident who has spent his life by the Tinau river, is not sold on the idea of the corridor. There are many demerits of constructing the corridor, he says. “The road construction will dry up the water sources of the river and destroy the natural vegetation.” According to him, there should be a large boulevard and enough river area to maintain the ecology of both the rivers. “Otherwise, the Tinau river will become more of a canal and less of a river than it is today,” he said.