Katari-Ghurmi road in neglect

Gaighat, January 26

The Katari-Ghurmi road stretch of Siddicharan Highway has long remained in a dilapidated state causing difficulty in the movement of vehicles in Udayapur.

The road has not been repaired for a long time due to the government’s negligence. Ninety per cent blacktop of the 64-km section of the road has come off making the road useless. Large potholes exists and cracks have developed in most part of the road.

Many accidents have taken place on the route due to lack of repair and maintenance. Nepali Army had constructed the road two decades ago.

Tribhuvan Dahal of Katari said vehicles plying the road ferrying goods beyond road capacity had been deteriorating the condition of the road. “The road has capacity for ten tonnes load but vehicles plying the route carry load weighing as much as 20 tonnes,” said Dipak Budhathoki of Katari. Budhathoki complained that their repeated plea to police to crack down on passing overloaded vehicle was largely ignored.

The Katari-Ghurmi road is deemed very important for inland connectivity. Around 500 big and small vehicles use the road en route to Okhaldhunga, Solu and Khotang on a daily basis.

The Road Division Office, Lahan, is responsible for maintenance of the road. Lahan RDO head Ram Kumar Dev said no budget had been allocated for repair of the road.

“We have repeatedly asked the centre for budget for repair of the road repair but to no avail,” Dev said. According to him, around Rs 500 million is required for repair of the road and control of recurrent landslide along the stretch. He said landslides had swept away the road at several places last year.

It has been 22 years since vehicles has started plying the road. Till date, the road has witnessed 17 accidents also involving a number of human casualties. Local transport entrepreneur of Katari Satrudahn Karki said the road was accident-prone as it was too narrow to pass two vehicles coming from opposite directions.