Nagdhunga-Sisnekhola tunnel breakthrough: Beginning of a new era in Nepal’s development endeavors

Published On: April 18, 2024 07:35 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The breakthrough of the Nagdhunga-Sisnekhola tunnel marks a significant leap forward in Nepal's development. For Nepalis who have only traveled abroad through the tunnel and heard that it was possible, such journeys are now feasible within the country. This tunnel route, built primarily for transportation, has become a milestone in the country's developmental history. Its inauguration coincided with the Nepali New Year, adding excitement to the celebrations. At the beginning of Bikram Sambat 2079, the country's second international airport, Gautam Buddha International Airport, was opened. Shortly afterward, Pokhara International Airport also began operations on the first day of English New Year 2023. If at least one national pride project is completed each year, Nepal will continue to make significant developmental strides. Hence, New Year 2081 should continue this positive trend established at the outset.

Although the tunnel is only 2,688 meters long (about 2.7 km), the focus should be on its role as Nepal’s first commercial tunnel route, rather than on its dimensions, duration, cost, or expense. This achievement is a source of national pride. Many ongoing national pride projects in the country are progressing slowly. In such a context, the success of this tunnel project is a proud achievement. It is expected to reduce the distance to Kathmandu valley by 2.8 km and save 33 minutes on trips to Kathmandu and 23 minutes on trips from Kathmandu. The construction work began in October 2019 following an agreement between the Department of Roads and the Japanese construction company Hazama Ando Corporation. Despite a slight delay, the project, costing about Rs 22 billion, was completed well within the expected timeframe.

Countries worldwide are showcasing developmental miracles competitively. The developments in neighboring China are particularly inspiring, as is the progress in India. However, Nepal, situated between these two giants, has lagged behind. With the completion of the tunnel route, Nepal must now use this milestone as a foundation to promise and strive for overall development in the future. This commitment is necessary for Nepal to confidently stand alongside its neighbors. Development is inherently linked to political stability. Political instability poses a significant barrier to such progress. But Nepal is not an exception to experiencing political instability in the region. Other South Asian countries have continued their developmental efforts despite similar challenges. Recognizing this, Nepali leaders must unite and cooperate on development projects. If we can achieve similar 'breakthroughs' in at least one of our development endeavors each New Year, we can certainly overcome our backwardness. For now, it would suffice if the New Year could instill this wisdom in our leaders.

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