UDAYAPUR, Nov 25: Blacktopping and road widening work at Gaighat road section of Madan Bhandari Highway – a national pride project – has been affect due to dispute between locals on road alignment.
Locals are divided on road alignment on the 70-meter road section east of Purano Gaighat (PG) Chowk. While some say the highway project office should used the alignment as per the survey of 1971, other say the alignment should be as per the detailed project report (DPR). Locals south of the road are for fixing alignment as per the 1971 survey, while those to the north of the road say the alignment should be as per the DPR. As both sides are refusing to budge from their stance, road expansion and blacktopping work has been affected.
Earlier, the office had fixed the highway’s width at 18 meters, including two-meter drainage on each side. The problem arose after Triyuga Municipality requested the project office to increase width in city area to 25 meters. Both sides later agreed to keep the width in city areas at 20 meters. Now, the locals are divided on the side to be widened.
“The project office should have prepared DPR based on the 1971 survey. But, it prepared DPR to serve vested interests of some people who are trying to grab public land by shifting road alignment northward,” Yuvaraj Budhathoki, a local, told Republica. “The road should be widened toward both sides.”
This is not the first time that construction of road in Gaighat has brewed controversy. The municipality’s plan to build drainage on either side of the road had created similar dispute a decade ago. That time the municipality had built drainage by shifting the road alignment toward north.
After the government decided to build an alternative highway, Chief District Officer Kali Prasad Parajuli and Chief of the highway project Umesh Bindu Shrestha, on February 18, 2016, decided to fix road alignment as per the survey map of 1971.
Prem Kumar Rai, another local, said efforts should be made to find amicable solution to the problem. “Nobody should be cheated as the issue concerns expensive land in city area that nobody wants to part with,” he added.