This file photo shows a black-topped road of Butwal Industrial Area. Locals complain that the roads around the town have been poorly maintained. (Republica)
BUTUWAL, Oct 27: Much to the delight of the locals of Butwal, new tracks were opened almost everywhere in the villages and towns in the last few years. Many were even blacktopped. However, the 'signs' of development has started to irk the public now, thanks to the fast deteriorating routes. Potholes are seen in almost all the roads and they have turned into deathtraps, they complain. Let alone in the rainy season, the roads are hardly in good condition even in winter.
"The road condition speaks volumes about our real situation. Due to the potholes, we are simply not able to use them. It is so much like a deathtrap. Potholes everywhere," said Laxmi Gyawali, a businessman at Milanchowk. "But where shall we complain? We cannot do anything about it when the authority is sleeping," he fumed.
According to the locals, they have been literally cut off from the center due to the dilapidated roads. "The roads are so much worse that it is wiser to wait rather than to set off in any journey," said Gyawali adding that things have not improved even after the monsoon.
Gaywali stated that the roads constructed just one or two years ago have also deteriorated a lot. Black-topping has been done just for the same of name, he said.
The main roads of Butuwal's market look no better. Potholes ranging from small to big sizes have given them poor look.
Basanta Dhakal, member of FNCCI, Butuwal lamented that the concerned authorities have not shown any interest to repair the dilapidated roads. "Let alone the roads in the villages, we don't have proper roads here in the down town. The roads need repairing but nobody cares," he said. "This road at the main market was constructed just three years ago. And is useless now," he added.
Dhakal claimed that the Department of Roads has not paid heed to the matter despite receiving complaints from the locals and several organizations. Due to the poor roads, the business of people has been affected, he said.
"Bad roads affect us in every way. It takes much longer to cross the same distance. It affects school-going children, men, women, all alike. In the rainy days, there have been roads accidents," Dhakal complained.
The road he was talking about at Gopal Park was constructed for Rs 190 million three years ago. Other roads at Milanchowk, Hospital chowk and Traffic line were also constructed and blacktopped within the last four years. Now, all those roads are full of potholes. Just a month ago, the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament had raised questions over it. The committee had sought clarification from the Department of Roads. "After a field visit, a team of the committee had prepared a report and clarification was sought regarding the matter. But after that, we are clueless on what they are doing now," Dhakal said.
Locals of Butuwal have been forced to inhale polluted air as the dust has polluted all their settlements, locals complained. If no action is taken to improve the situation, they will have to protest against the Department of Roads, they warned.
"We are bearing the brunt for a long time. The dust is too much now. We are inhaling dust which is slow poison," said Madhav Gautam, a book store owner at Milanchowk. "Everything is out of order and chaotic due to the poor roads. Locals are now going to protest against it," he added.
According to Gautam, repairing of the roads is done just for eyewash. Even the upgraded roads don't last for long. "They do come and repair it. But it does not last even two to three months," he reported.
Gautam stated that he cannot name even a single road block which is fine. Poor road quality has badly hit the normal life and holistic development of the region, he argued. "This matter must be taken very seriously. When you have roads just for the sake of name, it does not pay off," he commented.
He criticized the 'haphazard work during the end of the fiscal year and the lack of well preparation beforehand'. Most of the roads in Butuwal were upgraded at end of fiscal year, he reported. "When you do it just to finish off the money, what can you expect?" he fumed. Similarly, due to lack of coordination between the departments of drinking water and road, the digging of roads never comes to an end, he added.
According to Suman Shrestha, planning officer and engineer at Butuwal Sub Metropolitan City, the potholes are basically seen after the monsoon. Heavy rains trigger it, he said. "We however have plans to fill those potholes soon," he said.