A scary journey on Karnali highway

Published On: August 23, 2022 07:00 PM NPT By: Lalit Bista

KALIKOT, August 23: Daman Bahadur Shahi of Khandachakra Municipality-6 of Kalikot boarded a bus to go to Jumla after a long time. An 82 km long road has to be crossed to reach Jumla from Kalikot. Shahi, who traveled by bus during the rainy season, said that his heart skipped a beat 160 times before he reached Jumla.

The distance from Bangesimal in Surkhet to Jumla is 232 km. One has to cover a distance of 150 km to reach the Kalikot section. At hundreds of places on the Karnali Highway, passengers get scared and worried. From Dhungeshwar Bazar in Dailekh to Jumla, the Karnali river runs below the narrow road on which buses run at a speed of 30 to 50 km/hour. The narrow road has potholes on it, the soil washed away by the rainwater from above is piled up on the road.

Nabin Pun Magar of Tikapur flew to Nepalgunj from Jumla and said that his journey was smooth and trouble-free. But while returning, he chose to travel on a bus and said that he was sweating due to fear. He said that he somehow reached Kalikot from Jumla, but he was worried about how to get to Surkhet.

In the Kalikot section alone, at more than a dozen places such as Gaganekhola, Jyanmarako Bhir, Sunarkhola, Pili, Ranchuli, Bihanikhola etc, the vehicles get tilted. Similarly, some road sections are covered by landslides. Brave passengers say that it is natural for some to get scared while traveling on such roads.

Lanka Karki of Raskot said that he has traveled to places like Bhasuvir in the Far West, Krishnavir in Mugling etc and said that there is no fear because the roads have been widened. But the tires of the vehicles do not even fit the track of the Karnali Highway. And who wouldn't be afraid of traveling on such a road, Karki questioned. An annual budget is allocated for the upgradation and maintenance of roads. But the budget is spent to remove the landslides that occur during the monsoon. 

Aja Bahadur Shahi, a construction entrepreneur, said that the level of development of the road is the same because the office and the contractor put the quotation together and the budget is spent in a staggered fashion. According to Shahi, the Karnali Highway will be worth traveling through if the government  awarded contracts worth billions of rupees at once, build walls in flooded areas and widen the road, make bridges over rivers and drains where water flows.

Rajiv Shrestha, head of Road Division Office, Jumla, said that there is a policy of the office not to repair roads at places prone to landslides. He said that he did not know the reason why the drain was not made, saying that tenders are being awarded  for the improvement of the road at some places. But he disconnected the phone saying that other issues could be explained only after looking at the official documents. Common citizens think that the Karnali Highway has not been improved due to the negligence of the road office staff. But the office staff have been avoiding questions related to the improvement of the highway, saying that the work is done according to the policy of their office. As a result, the Karnali Highway is becoming more and more dilapidated instead of improving.

Leave A Comment