DARCHULA: Locals of Byas village council of Darchula district are forced to live in misery due to the delay in construction of Darchula-Tinkar road, the motorable access to district headquarter in Khalanga. Locals have to cross the Indian border in order to travel to district headquarter. When the government started the survey of the road more than 10 years ago, they were expecting the end of such detouring within a few years.
“It has been more than 10 years but our hopes didn’t turn into reality,” said Ram Singh Dhami, a local of Byas village council. “Still we have to travel to India to visit our district headquarter.” It has been nine years since the government started the construction of the road. Only 16 km of the road has become motorable. Although the road project claims the completion of a 50 km section, there are still some places where the mountains need to be carved. If the construction is carried out at this pace, the 140 km Darchula-Tinkar road will not be completed even in 20 years.
This road project is considered to be one of the most important highway projects for the development of the Far Western Region and the government has been allocating adequate budget for its construction every year. However, more than 60 percent of the allocated budget remains unused every year.
The government allocated Rs 300 million for the road in fiscal year 2016-17, but the project spent only Rs 73.7 million, according to Manish Kumar Shah, project chief of the road. Likewise, it spent only Rs 24.4 million in the previous fiscal year although Rs 154.2 million was allocated for the construction of the road. Lack of explosive material, according to Shah, is delaying the construction of the road.
The contractor left the construction site after the project failed to supply the explosive materials needed to blow away the hard rock to open the track for the road. “The project didn’t provide the explosives required for the construction of the road,” said an official of the construction company. “In order to complete the project on time, the project office must arrange entire resources required for the construction before calling for the tender.”
The project made payment to the Nepal Army for 10.1 tonnes of explosive three years ago. But the army has supplied only 5.7 tonnes to this date delaying the construction of the road. The army is dillydallying in supplying explosives despite repeated follow up from the project office, according to the project.
– By Manoj Badu for TKP