Five months on, vehicular movement along Ranimahal-Ramdi stretch yet to resumeDebris from several landslides caused by monsoon rains along the road stretch of the Kaligandaki Corridor has not been cleared.
Vehicular movement along the Ranimahal-Ramdi stretch of the Kaligandaki Corridor in Palpa has been disrupted for the past five months due to multiple landslides.
The negligence of the construction company and Kaligandaki corridor road construction project is partly to be blamed for the disruption, say local residents who have been hugely affected by the halt in vehicular movement.
“The construction company has not cleared the landslide debris,” said Guna Bahadur Budhathoki of Khanigaun. “There has been no road access to Khanigaun for several months, leaving the villages with a short supply of essentials.”
Several landslides have blocked the road stretch from Ranimahal, a historic palace and tourist destination, to Dailatung of Khanigaun.
The 18-kilometre Ramdi-Ranimahal road section was opened last year, 10 years after the contract for the project was signed.
The Kaligandaki Corridor is one of the national pride projects that connects neighbouring India and China through Nepal. The north-south corridor runs through 132 kilometres of the Argali-Rampur-Gaindakot section, 88 kilometres in the Ridi-Gulmi-Baglung section, 87 kilometres in Baglung-Beni-Jomsom section and 105 kilometres in the Jomsom-Korala section.
The people’s representatives say clearing the debris is a mammoth task and one that cannot be initiated at the local level alone.
“The local residents are in hardship as the authorities concerned have not cleared the landslide debris from the monsoon season. The local unit does not have the budget to clear the landslides,” said Laxmi Prasad Adhikari, the ward chairman of Yamgha. According to Adhikari, while other sections of the Kaligandaki Corridor have already been upgraded and blacktopped, the Ranimahal-Ramdi stretch is in a sorry state due to the negligence of the road project office and the contractor.
Road upgradation work, including blacktopping, is underway in the Gulmi, Baglung, Myagdi, Mustang and Nawalparasi sections of the Kaligandaki Corridor. In Palpa, the upgradation work is currently ongoing in Ridi-Ranimahal and Pipaldanda-Nawalparasi stretches.
Himdung and Thokar Construction Company had been awarded the contract to open and upgrade roads along the Dailatung-Ranimahal section eight years ago at the cost of Rs 74 million.
“The Ramdi-Ranimahal track was opened last year. But the construction company is yet to complete the upgradation work. We have put pressure on the contractor company to complete the upgradation work at the earliest. The contractor has assured us that it will complete the work within four months,” said Kalpana Adhikari, the chief of the road project.
The Lumbini provincial government has also expressed its concern over the delay in the completion of the upgradation work and the disruption of the Ranimahal-Ramdi stretch by landslides. The provincial Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Bir Bahadur Rana recently went on a field inspection of the road section and urged the road project to take immediate action to resume vehicular movement along the Ranimahal-Ramdi section.
The road project issued a letter to Himdung and Thokar Construction Company, giving it an ultimatum to complete the upgradation work and clear the landslide debris within four months.
“We are attempting to get the work done by the contractor at the earliest,” said chief of the road project Kalpana Adhikari.