DOLAKHA, Dec 1: Fifty five kilometers long Khadichaur-Charikot road section, which is under renovation since the last five years, still looks dilapidated. Although the project deadline has been extended time and again, the renovation is not yet complete, according to the enraged locals of Khadichaur, who organized a protest on Saturday.
They chanted slogans against the Department of Roads, the contractor and the government. They blew conch shells to protest as they marched to the market and warned the authorities to take the matter seriously. Locals of the district have been raising their voice for the last two months for proper roads, including the Khadichaur- Charikot block.
“Although we have been protesting for the last two months, it has made a little difference. So we decided to blow conch shells as a symbolic protest against the deaf and the dumb authority,” said Chiranjeevi Maskey, one of the protesters spotted at Satdobato Chowk of Charikot on Saturday afternoon.
“When roads are not in proper condition, it impacts all other aspects of life of the people. Khadichaur road is our lifeline and it is under construction since the last five years, and they are still not in a hurry to complete it,” he added.
The protesters had taken out the procession from Satdobato Chowk and marched around the main crossroads and market places in the district headquarters. People from different walks of life including businesspersons, tourism entrepreneurs, industrialists and media persons had participated in the protests.
According to Maskey, a brief meeting was held to discuss the way ahead about how to exert pressure on the authorities concerned. “We have decided to continue with the protest, and intensify it if needed,” he said.
In the view of such demonstrations, the Department of Raods had recently published a notice addressed to the contractors.
In the notice, the contractors that include Shankar Mali and Sakil Haider were warned to get the work done immediately. If they do not turn up till Tuesday, the department may scrap the contract, says the warning notice.
“One week of time has been given to the contractors to get back to work. If that is not done, they may face action,” said Maskey. “However, we are vigilant. If we stay quiet, this initiative of Department of Roads will get back to square one,” he added.
Some contractors have begun to respond to the warning given by the department. Works have been resumed at some points. However, this has not impressed the locals. “We are still not assured if they are serious this time,” said Maskey.
Also according to Deep Shankar Chaulagain of Charikot, who was also in the forefront during Saturday’s protest, the contractors are simply not serious.
He said that the government should take bold steps to make them accountable.
“Or else, they will work for two days, and then disappear again. That is what has been happening since the beginning,” he said. “Had the authority been strict and the contractors responsible, we would have had a wide and smooth road by now,” he added.