KATHMANDU, April 4: Road network has finally reached the doorstep of the world's highest peak, Mt Everest, with the inauguration of the newly-constructed road in Solukhumbu that leads up to Khumbu Pasang Lahmu Rural Municipality, which is considered the gateway of Everest.
The road connects the district headquarters Salleri to Kharikhola, which lies just below the Khumbu region. Solukhumbu is divided into two regions – Solu or the lower region and Khumbu which lies above Lukla and is home to Everest and some other prominent peaks.
On March 22, two rural municipalities - Madhya Dudhkoshi and Khumbu Pasanglamhu - had agreed to jointly foot the bill of this much-awaited road project. Of the eight rural municipalities in Solukhumbu, Khumbu region is the only local unit that is yet to be connected to the road network. However, the local authorities plan to link Khumbu to the road network within this fiscal year.
Chief Minister of Province 1 Sherdhan Rai assured that the provincial government would provide the required budget to expand the road from Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rrual Municipality to Chaurikharka Rural Municipality in the next two years. In order to increase the number of tourists in Khumbu, road must be expanded up to Chaurikharka," said Chief Minister Rai, adding, "Provincial government is ready to take the responsibility to do so."
The road link is expected to enhance domestic and international tourism and add to the economy. In addition, it will also make it easier for people to travel to Lukla in case of flight obstruction. Locals will not be obliged to take flights to reach the neighboring districts. Earlier, bad weather used to force tourists to stay grounded at Lukla's Tenzing Hillary Airport for days. The expansion of road network right up to the foothills of Everest is expected to reduce the cost of food and other daily essentials.
Speaking at the program, lawmaker Hem Kumar Rai stated that the road connecting the Everest region must be a common agenda for all political parties and the government.