Track construction begins to link Darchula villages with headquartersThe project was delayed due to problem in transporting construction materials.
Construction of Dumling-Chhangru horse track, the only trail that links northern villages of Darchula to the district headquarters, has finally commenced. The Local Infrastructures Development Project Office in Sudurpaschim Province initiated the construction work from October first week.
The central office of Local Infrastructures Development Project had awarded the contract to Pushpanjali/RB/Ridhgade JV for the construction of the horse track in April. But the construction work began only after five months of the contract signing.
“The construction of the horse track commenced a bit late due to the problem in transporting construction materials to the site,” said contractor Man Bahadur Bam.
As per the contract agreement, the construction company has to complete the track construction by April 6, 2022. Dipak Pant, an engineer at Local Infrastructures Development Project Office in Sudurpaschim Province, said two short suspension bridges and two truss bridges should be constructed along the Dumling-Chhangru horse track.
It seems that the track construction could not be completed timely as the construction work commenced quite late. “One has to use Indian territory to inspect the construction site as the trail was disrupted on the Nepal side. It took time to commence work as the site is in a remote area. Moreover, we have to bring workers from Bajhang and Bajura districts as there are not enough construction workers in Darchula,” said Bam.
A horse track was constructed connecting Chhangru and Tinkar with the district headquarters in the 1970s. But the track was closed off during the Maoist insurgency and fell into disrepair. According to Aspal Budhathoki of Byas Rural Municipality-1, the foot trail has been severely damaged in around 15 places since the start of the monsoon season this year.
The local people have been demanding that the authorities repair the entire stretch of the old horse track so that they can easily walk to and from Khalanga.
The government authorities spend a huge amount of budget each year to reconstruct the horse track but it gets disrupted within a few months.
“We could not use the track for more than a season for the past 10/12 years. We descend to Khalanga through the track but we find it obstructed in the next season,” said Daljit Bista, a sheep farmer of Byas.
The Dumling-Chhangru is being constructed along the bank of the Mahakali river. However, the local people have been demanding to construct the trail through the old horse track which is above the present alignment. According to engineer Pant, Byas Rural Municipality has also recommended constructing the trail through the old horse track stating that the floods in the Mahakali river could erode the track in the rainy season if it is constructed along the river. The local unit argues that the track won’t be quite useful as the Khalanga-Tinkar road is also going along the river bank.
“The track construction has started from the northern side. The alignment can be changed in some places as per the demand of the local people and the recommendation of Byas Rural Municipality,” said Pant.
The construction company, however, said that it is quite difficult to construct the track as per the demand of the local people. “There is rocky terrain in the old horse track. The government should provide us with explosives to blast the rocky cliff in case we have to construct a track over there. The local unit and the district administration office should take initiatives regarding providing us the explosives,” said Bam.