POKHARA, August 24: A huge flood occurred on the road at Mahendrapul in Pokhara due to heavy rain on Sunday night. Not only a stretch of the road but also the sidewalks caved in due to the flood. People living in the area are worried as the roads and sidewalks have been washed away. Mahendrapul is one of the popular business areas of Pokhara.
However, this is not the first case of land sinking in Pokhara. This type of incident takes place every year in various places of Pokhara such as Nadipur, New Road and Mahendrapul. When there is heavy rainfall, water flows on the road like a river. Due to this, the roads cave in and it becomes difficult for transportation services. The local people are living in fear as experts have warned them about the possibility of nearby houses collapsing.
Pokhara received 260 mm of rain in a period of 14 hours from 7PM on Sunday to 9AM on Monday. According to Saroj Adhikari, weather assistant at the Hydrology and Meteorology Office, Pokhara, the heavy rain started at 7PM. He said that floods hit the entire city of Pokhara as it rained overnight and this is the highest rainfall in the short interval of the monsoon .On 7th July, Pokhara received 258 mm of rain in nine hours. “There is a possibility of heavy rain till Tuesday. This could even lead to additional risks,” he added.
Mahendrapul has always been the victim of occasional landslides and floods. But according to the technicians of Pokhara Metropolitan City, there has been a greater damage this time. Netra Timilsina, sub-engineer of Pokhara Metropolitan City, informed Republica that it started raining heavily around 9PM on Sunday. Also, as it rained overnight, the sinkholes became bigger. “Immediately after receiving information, we went to the spot. We even cleared the water from that spot. But there was even more severe damage in the morning,” he said.
According to him, the area was dug while laying pipes during the expansion of drinking water supply pipelines. A stretch of 10 meters from the pit was left to be covered with concrete. However, due to vehicles parked on both sides of the road in that area, the work could not be completed. “Though the work was completed in the upper and lower areas, the land caved in at the place which was yet to be covered with concrete,” Timilsina said. Right now, drinking water pipes are being laid out in Pokhara. “The Metropolitan Office, Drinking Water Corporation, road department and other agencies are working together to solve the problem. But even if we work to solve this temporarily now, we have to dig deeper for a long term solution,” he added.
Geologists also believe that the big sinkhole that appeared in the Mahendrapool area is due to the heavy rainfall. Geologist Shrikamal Dwivedi said, “Pokhara is one of the places that receives the highest rainfall in Nepal. Therefore, when there is no proper exit for the rain water to drain, it creates big holes on the surface. Also, Pokhara has weak topography which makes it easier for this kind of problem to arise frequently.”
“If there was a proper drainage system, this kind of problem could not take place. However, as the water that needed to flow in the drain flows on the road, it finds weaker spots and creates huge sinkholes,” said Dwivedi. “The condition of the nearby houses should be studied along with the road as it creates a bigger risk when the upper structure is weak as well,” he added.