TIKAPUR, March 10: The locals of then Far and mid-western region were obliged to walk a long distance to reach their neighboring districts. However, an under-construction Karnali River bridge at Kuine that lies in between Kailali and Surkhet district will not just reduce the distance but will also connect villages to the road network.
This bridge will benefit the people living in Surkhet, Kalikot, Dailekh, Jumla, Humla, Dolpa, Mugu, Bajura and Achham, among others. As of now, people living in these districts have no option other than using the lengthy route of Surkhet-Kohalpur-Chisapani or Doti-Dadeldhura-Attariya road section to go to Tarai.
With the construction of this bridge, around 200-kilometer distance of Baddichaur-Kohalpur-Chisapani will be cut short to 52 kilometers. This bridge will connect Chisapani-Kuine-Baddichaur along the East-West highway.Anat/ Lumbini JV have shouldered the responsibility of the construction of this bridge. The contract for this project was signed in 2015. Dinesh Kumar Shrestha, Site In-charge of the project informed Republica that the construction work could not begin for two years, as the road department did not approved the design.According to him, this design was approved in 2018. "The department must have taken time to approve the design because of the geographical difficulties," said Shrestha, adding, "Karnali River often changes its course." The construction company has assured that the two pillars of the bridge will be completed within this year.
As the work is going on at good pace, the locals of this area are on cloud nine. They had been demanding for this road since decades. Milan Shahi, a teacher in Panchpuri Municipality-11 stated that this bridge would also shorten the distance between the Karnali Province and India. "Sati Custom Office will be geographically closer after the completion of this bridge," said Shahi, adding, "This is a huge project for the locals of Karnali Province."
As expected by the locals, this can play a pivotal role in uplifting their living standard. "We are hopeful that our days will change with road connectivity," said Shahi, adding, "We can't wait for it to be completed." Currently, the 11-kilometer road section of Chisapani-Kuine is being upgraded.
The recently constructed Bheri River Bridge has eased transportation along the Baddichaur-Kuine road. The locals are hopeful that the construction of the Karnali Bridge will help them reach markets and sell their produces. Surya Bahadur Thapa, coordinator of the District Coordination Committee (DCC), Kailali, has been actively taking initiatives for the construction of Chisapani-Kuine-Baddichaur raod section and the Karnali Bridge.
He says these two projects determine the future of Karnali Province. Most youths of far- and mid-western region go to India for employment opportunities, for which they have to travel a long distance to reach the border. Therefore, the construction of this bridge will ease their travel. Besides that, it will also ease the import and export between the two countries.