Trees being cut for Mugling-Pokhara road expansion

Published On: January 28, 2022 02:25 PM NPT By: Republica

DAMAULI, Jan 28: Trees along the right and left sides of the Tanahu section along the Prithvi Highway are being chopped down in a negligent manner under the Mugling-Pokhara road expansion drive. 

Chief of Mugling-Pokhara road project (eastern section), Narendra Subedi said that they have started cutting down the trees along the road section under the project to expand the Mugling-Pokhara road to four-lane. 

Around 50 percent of trees along Jamune to Aanbukhaireni along the eastern section have already been chopped, he added.

Subedi further said the project is authorized to carry out the activities in order to widen the road. Out of 3,163 trees that should be chopped down along the Jamune-Pokhara section, 1,800 trees have been cut down so far. 

Activities to shift electric poles and remove huts would be carried out after cutting down the trees.  A total of 6,750 trees should be cut down along the Tanahu section in the course of road expansion. The road project will hand over the trees to forest offices after chopping them down, said Assistant Forest Officer at the Division Forest Office, Kashiraj Pandit. The road expansion project has been forwarded dividing it into two sections—Jamune-Aanboo Khaireni and Jamune-Pokhara.  

The map of this road was prepared in 1969. It is being expanded to a four-lane highway with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) due to the high traffic. The Prithvi Highway that links Kathmandu to Pokhara was built with Chinese assistance and was completed in 1974. Being one of the busiest highways in the country, it faces frequent traffic jams. The highway traffic is expected to ease once the project is completed.

The expansion of the 81-kilometer road is contracted out by dividing it into two sections. The contract for the upgrading of the 41.45 kilometers Aanboo Khaireni-Jamune eastern sector has been given to China Communication Construction while the contract for the 39 kilometers Jamune-Pokhara western section has been given to a Chinese company- Anhui Kaiyuan Highway and Bridge Company. 

The contract for the Aanboo Khaireni-Jamune East section is worth Rs 6 billion 213 million 113 thousand while the contract for the Jamune-Pokhara western section is worth Rs 7 billion 404 million 600 thousand. 

The highway will be expanded by 25 meters on both sides. It will be 41 meters wide when passing through dense settlements. As per its design, it will be 41 meters wide in Damauli and Dumre Bazaar of Tanahu while it will be 46 meters wide from Dulegaunda to Khairenitar Bazaar as well as from Kotre Bazaar area and from Gagangaunda to Pokhara of Kaski. 

New bridges will be constructed to replace the existing bridges when the road is expanded into four-lanes. Accordingly, 31 new motorable bridges will have to be constructed in the 80 kilometers distance from Aanboo Khaireni to Pokhara. 

In October 2019, the Asian Development Bank had approved a loan of $195 million to upgrade the 81-km Pokhara-Aanboo Khaireni section of the Prithvi Highway into four lanes. The government is supposed to invest $59 million into the project as a counterpart fund. 


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