Nepal | May 29, 2020

Roads that don’t meet criteria increasing landslide risk in Okhaldhunga district

Himalayan News Service
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An excavator being used to construct a road in Champa Devi Rural Municipality, Okhaldhunga, on Wednesday, Juy 18, 2018. Photo: THT

Okhaldhunga, July 18

With Monsoon at its peak, many villages are at high risk of landslide due to haphazard road construction in Okhaldhunga.

Locals said that construction of roads without carrying out environmental impact assessment had put villages in peril. The risk of landslips has increased also because the land in the area had developed wide cracks after the 2015 earthquakes.

According to Community Forest Federation Nepal district Chair Gopalman Thapa, the unhealthy competition among local representatives to construct roads connecting every household in the district has led to this problem. “Road construction is important for development, but constructing roads without meeting the criteria will invite disaster, not prosperity,” Thapa added.

Local people’s representatives admitted that of the total budget allocated from the local levels, 90 per cent was being used for road construction.

Chair of Ward No 10 of Sunkoshi Rural Municipality Tularam Parajuli said dozers were being used to complete road construction as soon as possible. Of the eight
local levels in the district, Siddicharan Municipality and Champadevi Rural Municipality have bought their own dozers.

Some rural municipality chiefs and ward chairs have rented the dozers and used them for road construction.

It is said that more than 100 dozers are operating in 75 wards of the eight local levels for road construction in the district.

Cholendra Karki, a local  of Chisankhugadi Rural Municipality complained that roads were being constructed without meeting criteria and without proper planning due to which arable land was being transformed into barren land.

District Soil Conservation Office Chief Ganga Prasad Yadav said roads constructed without carrying out environmental impact assessment had no future. Roads constructed using dozers without meeting the criteria had increased landslide risk in the district.

A version of this article appears in print on July 19, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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