KHOTANG, Oct 2: The only road that was still in use in the entire district amid monsoon was reopened on Tuesday morning after 14 hours of it remaining blocked due to landslides. Vehicular movement along the Diktel–Hilesi road had suddenly come to a standstill on Monday evening due to heavy landslides at Nagi area of Halesi Tuwachung Municipality.
Talking to Republica, mayor of the municipality, Iwan Rai, said that two excavators had to be used to clear the road.
"Due to the rain, all small and big tracks in the district had gone out of use. This one, which is the major road in here, also got blocked for 14 hours," he said. "Two heavy excavators had to be used to clear the road," he added.
Rai further said that the landslides were quite heavy and the fear of recurrence still worries him. Managing the two machines to clear the road was extremely challenging and if that happens next time, "it is going to be quite tough."
"When a road gets blocked and there is an emergency, we turn helpless. Managing bulldozers or excavators is so challenging," Rai said.
The debris had scattered along around 50 meters of the road stretch. Standard passengers had hard time waiting to get the road cleared. After the road was leared, vehicular movement along the road resumed.
According to a local teacher Dilip Rai, though vehicles can now move on the road, there is a big question of safety. "The road has not been cleared fully. There is still some debris left," he said. "They have only managed a little for now so that buses can pass through the road," he added.
Dozens of new tracks have been opened in the district in the last one decade. After the local government came into existence, road projects got even more priority. However, there have been issues of the quality of the roads.
"The focus was on just opening new tracks rather than ensuring quality. This has led to a tragic situation, roads here are so much prone to accidents," Dilip said. "This monsoon, all roads were blocked," he added.
Diktel-Baksila, Diktel–Aiselukharka, Diktel–Patheka, Diktel–Mattim–Panchami and similarly, Diktel–Regmitar–Rasuwa roads , which are considered major routes in the districts are fully blocked since long. On the other hand, the Diktel–Nirmalidanda–Chakhewabhanjyang section of the mid-hill highway is blocked too. In the face of the festival of Dashain, these road woes have hit the people hard.