COVID pandemic affects highway completion


Construction of the Mid-Hill Highway is facing difficulty in meeting the deadline due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the project saw dismal physical progress in the first three months of the current fiscal year 2020-21, said Chief of the MHH Directorate Dipak KC. “In the first four months, the project recorded only two kilometres of blacktopping against the targeted 50 km,” he said.

The 1,776 kilometres highway connects 215 settlements of 26 districts and is estimated to benefit nearly 10 million Nepalis after completion.

Construction work of this national pride project, expected to be completed by 2022-23, is likely to hit a snag for a month more due to the upcoming Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festivals, according to KC.

Problems such as workers fearing to leave their houses for work and the respective local levels tightening mobility of people due to the spread of coronavirus have further made matters worse in relation to construction of the Mid-hill Highway, he said.

It is mandatory for people visiting other villages or districts to stay in quarantine for two weeks. “Workers fear to step outside their homes due to the virus,” he opined. “Only 113 km of the targeted 300km road was blacktopped last year, which is one-third of the work,” he informed.

Feature image: File