KATHMANDU, July 24: Home Minister Janardan Sharma has said that the blocked Araniko Highway will be reopened immediately by installing a Bailey bridge over the Bhotekoshi River at Larcha.
Responding to lawmakers queries at parliament meeting on Monday about the landslide at Larcha, Minister Sharma said the government has already instructed the concerned agencies to set up a motorable bridge.
A bridge over the Bhotekoshi River at Larcha had collapsed following a massive landslide Sunday. “Immediately after learning about the blockage, the ministry has instructed the concerned agencies to install a Bailey bridge,” said Sharma.
He further informed that the government has been continuously lobbying China for reopening the Tatopani border point with China and the Chinese side has also responded positively. The border point was closed after the 2015 earthquakes. The minister also claimed that his ministry is cautious about the risk of famine and other disasters in the northern part of the landslide-hit area.
Earlier, lawmakers from Sindhupalchowk district had drawn the attention of the government toward the landslide and bridge collapse.
CPN-UML lawmaker Amrit Kumar Bohara demanded that the government should install a Bailey bridge and also open an alternative route to resume vehicular traffic to the Tatopani market and other northern parts of the district. “Life in the northern part of Larcha, which is still struggling to reccover after the earthquakes, has become further difficult after the collapse of the bridge,” said Bohara speaking at the parliament meeting. He also demanded that the government take diplomatic initiatives for reopening the Tatopani border with China.
Also, Nepali Congress lawmaker from the district, Mohan Bahadur Basnet, demanded immediate resumption of the highway. “Sindhupalchowk has been suffering from recurrent floods, landslides and tremors. The highway is lifeline to Tatopani and other northern parts of the district. So a Bailey bridge needs to be installed immediately,” said Basnet. He also said that pilgrims visiting Manasarovar in Tibet via the Araniko Highway will be badly affected by the bridge collapse.
“As connection with the northern side of the bridge has been lost and there is the risk of famine in the remote villages,” he said.