KATHMANDU, July 8: Home Minister Janardan Sharma has said that only the expansion of the Mugling-Narayanghat section of the Prithvi Highway without first opening an alternative road was a mistake and that it cost lives of so many passengers.
Speaking at a meeting of State Affairs Committee (SAC) of parliament on Friday, Minister Sharma said that it was a mistake of the state administration not to open an alternative track along the Trishuli River.
As many as 47 people have died and 15 others have gone missing in accidents and landslides in this section of the road this year. This road section has become vulnerable for accidents but stakeholders have blamed the government for not taking the case seriously.
“We are facing huge problems along the Mugling-Naratanghat road section and a large number of security personal have been deployed due to recurring landslides,” Sharma said. “Had we opened a road along the other side of the river prior to the road expansion, we could save many lives including those police personnel who died in landslides last month.”
Lawmakers grilled Minister Sharma in the meeting for the government's negligence to safety of passengers on the road section. “The government has been failing to pay attention to the plights of the passengers who have to get stuck on the road section while coming to or going out of Kathmandu,” said Rastriya Janamorcha lawmaker Chitra Bahadur KC in the meeting.
Lawmakers dragged the attention of the minister to the obligation of the eople to travel along the road risking their lives in the absence of an alternate road.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have demanded that a disaster management bill be registered in parliament at the earliest for precaution against disasters as well as relief and rescue works. Lawmakers Gangalal Tuladhar, Arzu Rana, Chitra Bahadur KC, Rameshwor Phuyal, Rekha Sharma, Prem Suwal, Bikram Khadka among others had unanimous voice for the immediate enactment of the disaster management act.
“I will not let you to discuss about the bill in the committee again. It will be registered in parliament very soon,” said Sharma.
The committee also directed the home ministry to table the disaster management bill in parliament at the earliest. The SAC also directed the ministry to expedite relief and rescue works for the flood, inundation and landslide victims.
“The committee directs the government to manage immediate rescue and provide proper relief or compensation to the disaster victims,” said SACchairman Dil Bahadur Gharti.
Lawmakers in the meeting also suggested to the government to talk to the Indian side for minimizing inundation caused in the bordering areas by a dam constructed in India near the Nepal-India border.