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Construction of Olangchung Gola Highway begins

- ANANDA GAUTAM, TAPLEJUNG

Mar 2, 2018-

Work related to construction of Olangchung Gola Highway, which links far eastern part of the country to Nepal-China border point, has begun. Elite Construction, the contractor hired to build the highway, has deployed workers and equipment, like excavators, at the project site to begin construction, according to Kuver Nepali, head of the North-South Corridor Project.

Elite Construction bagged the contract of Rs360 million to build the highway located in Taplejung district a month ago. The government has allocated Rs600 million for the project.

Nepali said the road segment that links Tapethok to Lelep would be completed within mid-June. He also said that preparations are being made to build a bridge on Tapethok-Lelep segment. The road, according to the project office, will pass through a settlement in Lelep to Lungthung in Lelep.

From Lelep, the highway will be extended to Olangchung Gola, which is near Nepal-China border point.

Locals of Ghunsa have, however, said motorable road should not pass through their village, as it would affect the flow of trekkers and mountaineers to Mt Kanchanjunga, the third tallest peak in the world. Instead, they have suggested that a proper trekking trail be built in the area. However, the road project office has said the highway would pass through Ghunsa, as the alternative route will have too many hairpin bends.

As of now, vehicles can travel up to Tapethok. Around four vehicles leave Phungling, headquarters of Taplejung district, everyday for Tapethok.

The road from Phungling to Tapethok passes through Suketar Airport, Phurumbu and Limkhim. Once the highway is extended from Tapethok to Lungthung of Lelep, people can walk up to Olangchung Gola, a tourist site, within a day.

Olangchung Gola, however, has access to road network from the Chinese side. Tracks were opened from the Nepal-China border area of Tiptala Bhanjyang to Olangchung Gola using financial assistance extended by Walung Society. The road from Tiptala Bhanjyang to Olangchung Gola was built by a Tibetan company. However, vehicular movement has not started on this route.

The contractor of the project is mulling over using the road built from China to Olangchung Gola to transport necessary machinery required for road construction. This, according to the contractor, would save cost and enable it to build Lelep-Olangchung Gola segement of the highway from Olangchung Gola. The contractor said it would have to spend only Rs1 million to ferry machinery and equipment from Kerung to Olangchung Gola via Tiptala Bhanjyang. But if it buys the same machinery and equipment in China, it would have to fork out Rs15 million. The contractor has already requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hold talks with the Chinese Embassy on allowing it to use the Chinese route to transport machinery and equipment and purchase fuel required for road construction in China, said Pemba Sherpa, a Taplejung representative of the contractor.

Published: 02-03-2018 09:16

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