Jhapa, January 15
One year after the bridge over the Mechi River in Bhadrapur, Jhapa, came into operation, the approach road linking the bridge on either side is yet to be constructed.
Upon completion of the project, the bridge was inaugurated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on January 13 last year. The PM had then assured that approach roads on both sides of the bridge would soon be built.
Ever since, various stakeholders, including the local government, local political parties, entrepreneurs and Nepal-India Friendship Association have been submitting memorandums to the governments of both Nepal and India, but to no avail.
While the Indian side is learnt to have informed a Nepali delegation reaching out to it about preparations to launch the work in one-and-a-half-months from now, work on the Nepali side is yet to start.
In July 2018, the government, had signed a contract with Yakthuhang Construction Service Panchthar to construct the 1.29-km approach road from the bridge to Jhapa Chowk on the Nepali side, but work hasn’t started till date owing to a dispute.
Construction of the seven-metre wide blacktopped road will necessitate the locals to give up a large strip of their farmland, but they have refused to oblige. They have formed a struggle committee to fight for their cause.
Postal Highway regional office Itahari sub-engineer Surendra Yadav, on his part, called on the local government to take initiative to resolve the dispute. “The road construction can start only after the dispute is settled,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on January 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.