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Expansion Plan: Kaligandaki road corridor set for upgrade

- PRAKASH BARAL, BAGLUNG

Jan 28, 2018-

North-South Kaligandaki Corridor will soon be upgraded into a 10-metre wide road. In the first phase of the expansion project, 36 km of the corridor, which falls in Baglung, will be widened and drainage facilities will be built. The corridor will be upgraded by the Nepal Army.

Even though Baglung is home to over 60km stretch of the corridor, only 36 km of the road will be widened in the first phase.

Road Construction Working Committee member Lieutenant Colonel Reshmi Raj Bhattarai said, “We have asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate the budget for the project. Once approved, we intend to complete the project within this fiscal year.” The committee has asked for a budget of Rs250 million to upgrade the 36km Baglung road section and Rs350 million to improve the 44km stretch in Gulmi.

Public buses are currently operating on the corridor, ferrying passengers from Baglung to Butwal via Kushmisera. Thanks to the corridor, bus journey on the route has now been shortened by four hours.

Yet the corridor is narrow, making it prone to accidents. Hence, the demand for a wider road.

Political parties and social activists from both Baglung and Gulmi are actively campaigning for early completion of the project. Former lawmaker Prakash Sharma Poudel said, “Efforts are being made to complete the work on time. We have formally requested the Finance Ministry to provide necessary funds. We hope the required budget will be allocated soon.” 

The corridor has shortened travel time from villages like Chisti, Jaidi, Ajerwa and Dhulluwanskot in south Baglung to the district headquarters by three hours. Umakant Sharma, a resident from Jaidi, said, “In the past, we had to stay in the district headquarters overnight due to long travel duration. But now, we can return home on the same day.”

The corridor has also enabled residents of Balewa, Binamare, Jaidi, Chisti, Gulmi, Palpa and Parbat to sell agricultural produce in places as far as Narayangadh and Gaidakot.

Provincial assembly member Krishna Thapa said that the government would complete the project on schedule as it is a national pride project. 

He, however, said, “The project may miss the deadline by few weeks, but it wouldn’t take long to complete it.”

He also said if most of the drains are built before the monsoon, vehicular movement would not be affected even during the rainy season. The Nepal Army, which has undertaken road expansion work, will also build culverts, causeways and walls on the corridor. 

The corridor is of strategic importance as it links a 417km highway from Sunauli, the Indian border point, to Korala, the Chinese border point. The expansion of the corridor is also expected to inhibit migration in the area, which is home to around 1.03 million people.

Published: 28-01-2018 08:54

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