Udayapur, July 22
A shortage of daily commodities has hit three eastern hilly districts as the Katari-Ghurmi section of Siddhicharan Highway has been disrupted by floods and landslides.
With landslides and floods sweeping away the road at multiple places, the hilly districts of Khotang, Solukhumbu and Okhaldhunga have been virtually cut off from Tarai districts, leading to shortage of daily commodities.
“As hundreds of vehicles carrying food are stranded on the road, the same has caused scarcity of daily essentials in the hills,” said Katari Chamber of Commerce and Industry former chairperson Pawan Shrestha, lamenting the uncertainty as to when the road would resume and ease the situation.
Sherstha added this was the first time that the highway built 25 years ago had suffered such an extensive damage. “As the road has been washed away at a number of places, even walking on the road has become difficult,” said Shrestha.
Data with the Road Division Office of Lahan showed that around 10km of the highway had been damaged at different places due to rainfall in the second week of July.
“The damage is so extensive that we will have to open a new track at several places. We’re planning to open a new track about 40 metres above the damaged road. We’re, however, facing difficulty opening the track,” said division office chief Binod Sah.
Further, Sah added that it could take around two weeks to resume transport services on the road.
“As we have not able to carry out works as per our expectations due to lack of heavy equipment, it might take us two more weeks or so before the road sections come into operation,” said Sah.
The locals have demanded immediate action to make sure that the road is free from such disruptions in the days to come, citing the dilapidated Katari-Ghurmi road section.
A version of this article appears in print on July 23, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.