Multiple landslides obstruct several sections of Siddhartha HighwaySome of the road sections blocked by landslide debris had also suffered the same fate last year.
Multiple landslides triggered by incessant monsoon rain have obstructed traffic on various parts of the Siddhartha Highway that connects Bhairahawa to Pokhara.
Some of the road sections blocked by landslide debris had also suffered the same fate last year. Authorities had built walls to prevent a repeat the next year, but that doesn’t seem to have worked, locals said.
On Sunday night, around three meters of road caved in at Dhovan near Naag Mandir area in Ward No 3 of Tinau Rural Municipality. Vehicular movement on the road was obstructed for 10 hours due to the damage.
A diversion was constructed after clearing debris from the landslide. Som Bahadur Saru, of Dhovan police post, said, “It was possible to construct a diversion within a short time as the road was wide enough,” he added. One-way traffic resumed on the road section later in the day. “Although one-way traffic resumed, it’s still risky to drive heavy vehicles on the road as the area is prone to landslides,” said Saru.
The Dovan area had also witnessed a landslide, two years ago. This time, a large boulder lodged itself into a hill around 100 meters above the road. Authorities are worried that the boulder may roll down and block or damage the road.
Two years ago, the Division Road Office, Palpa, had constructed a retaining wall worth more than Rs 10 million to prevent landslides on the road section. However, this year’s rain swept the wall away .
Bikram Bhusal, assistant traffic sub-inspector deployed on the road section, said, “The Siddhababa area is still prone to landslides. We advise drivers to remain on the lookout for rocks and boulders.”
Likewise, a road section of the highway near the Ramapithecus Park was also obstructed by a landslide on Monday. “There’s one-way vehicular movement in the area now. Two years ago, the Division Road Office in Palpa, had invested Rs 50 million to control landslides in the area,” said Bhusal. “We have been deployed to clear the road. Two excavators are working to clear landslide debris from the damaged road sections.”
Similarly, three years ago, the road section in Bhutkhola suffered damages due to a landslide. The road section is still in need of repairs. On Monday, a massive landslide occurred near the permanent bridge joining Bhutkhola and Dovan bazaar.
Krishna Prasad Pandey, a local resident of Jhumsa, said, “One-way traffic has been allowed on the road joining Bhutkhola and Jhumsa due to multiple landslides on the road.
“The Division Road Office has already been informed about the situation. Officials should immediately take the initiative to prevent landslides and casualties.”
According to ward chair Prem Pandeya, 31 houses in Pani Mill area are currently at risk of being swept away by a landslide. “Around 60 metres of the road near Chaubis Mile has been damaged now. A permanent bridge along the highway is also at risk of collapsing,” said Pandeya.
Suraj Karki, an ambulance driver based in Gulmi said, “There’s always traffic jams on this road section during the rainy season. The state of the road has worsened over the years.” , Karki remains stranded on the road.
Meanwhile, Shibu Khatri, information officer at Division Road Office, Palpa, informed, “We will have to start repair works now. We will construct retaining walls and build necessary infrastructure after conducting a survey of the area,” he said.