Koshi Highway, a death trap for commuters

Published On: July 24, 2017 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

DHARAN, July 23: There are potholes everywhere in a one-kilometer road stretch of Koshi Highway that runs through Dharan. It has been about a month since the Road Division office (RDO), Biratnagar has been out of contact after piling up gravels in the same road. Motorcycles, three-wheeler tempos, buses or any other vehicle can anytime get stuck in the traps.

No matter how much precautions and safety measures are adopted, two to three accidents a day have become common. The condition of the road section from Bargachi to the Old Traffic Chowk in Dharan is pathetic.  Driving along the 1 km road section is a great challenge for anyone. “There is not a single day when two to three motorcycles don't slip in the road section,” said Ghana Shyam Shrestha, a local entrepreneur and a witness to several road accidents.

Every year, the government allocates budget for the repair and construction of the road but still nothing is done. In the fiscal year 2016/17 also, Abdullah Construction was entrusted with the responsibility of repairing the road but the contractor abandoned the project and has remained contactless. The road was supposed to be completed by the end of July but it has not been possible. Due to the negligence and carelessness of the local authority, last year's budget was frozen.  

Amir Tamang, a tempo driver of Dharan, laments that it is hard to drive vehicles during rainy season as the potholes are filled with water, creating pond-like illusion. “The pile of gravels dumped on the sides of the road has further increased the risk of road fatalities,” said Tamang.

Suraj Shrestha, an engineer and the chief of the Planning Department of Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City informed that the construction of the road is not the responsibility of the sub-metropolis as the project has been handed over to the RDO. “We can take the responsibility only when their contract is canceled,” he said.
According to the RDO, the government had allocated Rs 2.1 billion for the road and the office had even forwarded the task but unfortunately the contractor left the project in the middle. 

“We tried our best to get in touch with the contractor but he didn't return,” said Dipak Kumar Jha, site engineer of RDO, adding, “We are planning to cancel the contract soon.” He further informed that the project will resume after the distribution of new budget.
On Sunday, chairpersons of various wards of Dharan reached the RDO, Biratnagar demanding the repair and reconstruction of the dilapidated road.


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