Cry for road via Taal bazaar leads to village blockade

Lamjung, December 8:

Hundreds of mules were left stranded after locals of Taal village in Manang district, imposed an indefinite blockade in the district since Friday.

The locals of Taal village in Dharapani VDC of Manang , imposed the blockade saying that the construction of Besisahar-Chame road was not carried out from the areas as per their demands.

The road is being constructed without linking the areas across the Marshyagndi River. The locals have been demanding the construction of the road via Taal bazaar which is across the river.

“The blockade will continue and the construction of the road will be obstructed until the government fulfils our demands,” Tham Ghale, a local said.

Transportation of food commodities and other provisions have completely stopped due to the blockade.

“If the supply of food materials is obstructed at this time of year, it will result in a scarcity of food items in Manang district,” a local Bipas Lama said.

“Construction was halted after we received a letter from locals threatening to seize construction materials,” said General Binod Jung Rana, head of Nepal Army Besisahar-Chame Road Construction unit, adding that the matter has been reported to the Development and Construction Directorate of the Nepal Army.

Minister for Law, Justice and CA Affairs Dev Gurung said the decisions of the Taal villagers were wrong. “The problem will be solved by holding talks with the locals”, he said.

“The road could not be constructed as per the demands of the locals since surveys of the road construction had already been carried out. The government does not have sufficient

budget for this,” he said, adding, “Mid-April was the targeted time for the completion of the construction of the road.”

The construction of the road was previously disrupted due to the protests of the Taal locals in February. However, protests resumed after the National Planning Commission approved

the track for the construction according to the survey carried out by the Department of Roads. The construction work had resumed from the third week of Kartik after the protests.

The road that starts from Besisahar passes through Khudi, Bhulbhule, Syage,

Jagat, Chyamche and Dharapani before reaching Chame, the headquarters of Manang district.

The Taal locals claimed their business would be in a mess and they would be deprived of development if the road did not touch their village.

More time and budget will be required if the road is taken via Taal village, technicians said, adding that two more bridges over the Marshyangdi had to be constructed to take the road via Taal bazaar.

Of the 65 kilometre section of the Basisahar-Chame road, 52 kilometre has already been completed and vehicles are plying on the 27-kilometre section of the road from Besisahar to Syage.

Though the construction of the road was started 14 years ago, NA has been constructing it only for the past eight years. Thirteen kilometre stretch of the road is under construction.