Nepal | June 01, 2020

Siddhicharan Highway in sorry state

Himalayan News Service
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Udayapur, April 29

Around 90 per cent of Katari-Ghurmi road section along the Siddhicharan Highway is in a dilapidated state barely one-and-a-half decade after it came into operation.

The road is losing its shape due to floods, landslides and rainfall, among other things. Travelling on the road has become risky as accidents along it have been claiming lives every year due to poor condition of the road.

Social activist Ram Kumar Rai of Katari blamed the division road office for the poor condition of the road. “A number of factors, including vehicles plying with excess load have damaged the road, but as the road division has failed to carry out effective repair work, the same has further degraded its condition,” said Rai. “Though the division office carries out repair every year, it’s just for name’s sake,” he added.

Bhim Pulami, a local of Katari Municipality, blamed vehicles plying with load in excess of 10 tonnes as the primary factor that has damaged the road. “Vehicles carrying load up to 10 tonnes are only theoretically allowed on the Katari-Ghurmi road stretch, but large lorries hauling more than 30 tonnes are plying the road freely and the same has laid waste to the road,” he said.

According to locals, some 46km of Katari-Ghurmi road section is very risky for travellers.

The road section was black-topped by the Nepali Army using an alternative technology. But, as the black-topping came off not long after construction of the road, travelling on the road has become difficult.

The condition of the road that directly links Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga and Khotang to the Tarai has posed a great problem to the people. “We’d viewed Siddhicharan Highway as the backbone for development both of the Tarai and the hills but as the road is in sorry state it has affected everyone,” said Udayapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Katari Chairperson Pushkar Khadka, who also lamented the impact of the dilapidated road on local trade and business.

Katari Municipality Mayor Gyanendra Shrestha also acknowledged the role of the road in the development of the municipality and demanded that it be upgraded as early as possible.


A version of this article appears in print on April 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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