Police rescuers in the flooded Kamala River in Siraha on Friday. Photo: Mithilesh Yadav/Republica
KATHMANDU, July 13: With the major highways linking the Kathmandu Valley obstructed due to landslide and flash floods, tens of thousands of passengers have been stranded on Friday.
All major highways connecting Kathmandu Valley with the outer districts remain obstructed either partially or fully at multiple places since Thursday night due to landslides triggered by the incessant rains.
According to the security agencies BP Highway, Prithvi Highway and Tribhuvan Rajpath remain blocked at multiple sections due to mudslide and landslides. BP Highway that connects Kathmandu with Bardibas of Mahottari along the East-West Highway remains blocked at three places -- at Mangaltar, Ghyampe Khola and Sindhuligadhi since early morning on Friday.
“We have cleared the blockage caused by landslide at Sindhuligadhi at around 6 pm Friday but vehicular movement remains obstructed as the highway is blocked at Mangaltar, where the highway passes through a rivulet, which is now swollen by floodwaters, and there is no bridge,” said Superintendent of Police Chakra Bahadur Singh.
Police have asked motorists not to use the highway until all the blockages are cleared. “It is not clear when will the highway reopen because we will have to wait until the water in the rivulet at Mangaltar recedes to safe level,” said Singh.
Hundreds of vehicles and passengers have been stranded in Kavrepalanchowk, and in Khurkot and Sindhulimadhi of Sindhuli since Thursday midnight.
Similarly, the Prithvi Highway that connects Kathmandu with the western part of the country and with the East-West Highway via Mugling-Narayanghat road in Chitwan was blocked for three hours on Friday at Bandare Mode in Benirorang Rural Municipality, Dhading due to continuous mudslide from the hills.
“Although we cleared the highway at Bandare Mode in the afternoon, it was blocked at Khatrimode near Baubise since the evening after a river deposited a huge amount of silt on the highway,” said Raj Bahadur Baidya, the chief of District Police Office, Dhading. He further informed that earthmovers have been kept on the standby at various places of the highway in coordination with the local government.
The Tribhuvan Rajpath which connects Kathmandu with Hetauda, the provincial capital of Province 3, through Naubise has been blocked at Bagjhora in Bhimphedi Rural Municipality by mud and rocks, according to the police. The road is blocked at various places on the Sisneri-Phakhel section since early Friday.
Nepal Army spokesman Bigyan Dev Pandey said that army personnel have been deployed from nearby barracks to remove the blockages on the highways in different parts of the country.
“The highways in central and eastern Nepal have suffered the most damage. We started deploying army personnel to remove the blockages immediately after getting information,” said Pandey.
Nepal Army has 104 trained rescuers at each battalion and 30 disaster rescuers in each company located in all districts.
A landslide has blocked the Mid-hill Highway at Diktel-Haleshi road section since Friday morning. Hundreds of passengers bound for Kathmandu, Dharan and Biratnagar from Khotang remain stranded at Diktel, according to Ram Kumar Hingmang, the general secretary of Khotang Yatayat Pvt Ltd, a transport company.
According to the police, the East-West Highway has been blocked in Chandrapur Municipality-2 due to inundation and flash flood. Likewise, the Mechi Highway connecting Taplejung and Jhapa has been blocked in Falgunanda Rural Municipality-3 due to landslide.