KALIKOT, Sept 7: For years, the people of Karnali have been trying to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the 'dangerous' condition of the Karnali Highway. But their please, it seems, have been falling on deaf ears. Their plight and that of the commuters remains largely ignored even today.
The commuters and locals travelling on the highway, especially the Kalikot-Dailekh road section, have been undertaking an arduous journey. During monsoon, the road gets extremely muddy making it difficult for vehicles to go through.
Massive potholes and bad shape of the road also add to the woes of passengers. Although the Surkeht to Kalikot bus ride is supposed to take seven hours, it takes two days when the road is muddy.
It is common for vehicles to get stuck on the muddy road, forcing multiple stops. There has never been a smooth ride on the highway.
Various rivers along the highway have also posed obstacles for big and small vehicles. Likewise, bridges over the rivers are in a dilapidated condition. However, the government has not paid any attention to their maintenance.
“We take big risks to transport our passengers. The condition of the road poses huge risks to everyone,” said Sunil Bista, a local driver.
The roads of the highway are technically 'concrete'. However, the blacktopping has come off at several places. It is a 'concrete' road in name only. There is no trace of blacktopping even for a kilometer at some places.
Madav Chaulagain, a passenger who was travelling in a bus from Surkeht to Mugu, vented his frustration at the road's condition. “This is the district of province's chief minister. The roads are pathetic. Yet he has so far been indifferent and paid no attention to it.”
According to him, roads are in a terrible condition along rivers like Ghatte Khola, Dahi Khola, Gagane, Sherighat and Sunar River. At places, the passengers are compelled to push the vehicles they are traveling in.
At times, dozers are called in to pull out vehicles stuck on the muddy roads.