Locals demand upgradation of Dharan­Gaighat road

 

Though the track of the Dharan­Gaighat­Hetauda road was opened as an alternative to the East­West Highway two years ago, people travelling along the stretch have been facing difficulties as it is yet to be upgraded.

 

Vehicles, especially smaller ones, started plying the road after the government constructed a bridge at Chatara in Sunsari with financial aid from the Asian Development Bank. Construction of several other bridges at various rivers, including Gideri, Jahada, Baruwa, Bhima, Dwar and Triyuga, is also under way along the 102 kilometre Chatara­Katari section.

 

Biratnagar Truck Entrepreneur Association Chairman Binod Khadka said they are facing difficulties to drive vehicles along the road due to its poor condition. He said the road should be upgraded and connected up to Sindhuli in order to make it a reliable alternative to the East­West highway in the region. Stating that the road reduces Biratnagar­Kathmandu distance by 350 kilometres, Khadka said that the government is not initiating efforts to upgrade it.

 

As part of the upgradation project, the government contracted CTC Kalika JV Construction to expand 60 kilometre road from Naraha in Sunsari to Rupnagar in Saptari Rs 2.5 billion six months ago, its work has come to a grinding halt due to Tarai protests.

 

The construction company is also responsible for the construction of 19 bridges along the road section within three years.

 

Pradhumna Pandey, a surveyor of the construction company, said they can meet the deadline if the government provides required fuel and distributes compensation to landowners on time.

 

Due to increasing number of small vehicles on the highway, the road is in a dilapidated condition.

 

Eastern Nepal Transport Entrepreneur Association in­charge Kishor Dhamala said they cannot run vehicles along the highway if it is not upgraded. “The route is unmanaged due to ongoing construction works,” he said.

 

 

Bhojraj Khatiwada, former member of the Udayapur District Development Committee, said locals are compelled to face difficulties due to the government’s negligence. “Following Tarai banda, many people are traveling along the road,” he said