30 Taplejung VDCs yet to access roadway

- LABADEV DHUNGANA, ANANDA GAUTAM, Taplejung

Dec 6, 2014-

People in 30 remote VDCs in the district still use yaks and mules to transport goods as the villages are not yet connected to roadways.

“These animals are the only means to transport essential commodities in these villages,” said Tshembel Sherpa of Lelep-8, who supports his family of seven with the help of yaks which he uses to transport goods.

It takes around three days to transport goods for people in the area to transport goods along the Kanchanjungha foot trail that passes through Sinwa, Chiruwa, Tapethok, Lelep, Amjilesa, Gyabla, Phale and Ghunsa to Khambachen. Local residents in Olangchunggola, located at one day’s walking distance from Ghunsa, however, prefer to go to Tibet in China to buy essential commodities.

As traders spend over Rs 100 to transport one kilogram of items, local people are compelled to pay unreasonably high prices for daily used commodities in the area. Hence, it is no surprise that a kilogram of iodized salt that is available at Rs 20 in Phugling costs upto Rs 120 at Ghunsa.

Meanwhile, farmers living in over two dozen VDCs, including Surumkhim, Mehel, Khewang and Yamphuddin, in eastern Taplejung are dependent on yaks and mules to transport their products such as cardamom, ginger and others to local market.

Though a 95-kilometre road Suketar to Gola via Phurumbu, Lingkhim, Tapethok, Chiruwa, Sanghu and Lelep is under construction, it has been moving in a very slow pace. Only 41 kilometre track from Phurumbu to Thiwa has been constructed till date. While Rs 35 million was spent on the project last year, the government has allocated Rs 40 million for the road this year. Himali Chunda of Ghunsa said local people have repeatedly been asking local authorities and political leaders to allocate adequate funds for development projects in the region but their demands have not been addressed yet.

“The government collects millions in revenue from tourists who travel upto Kanchanjungha and Annapurna Base Camp, but nothing has been done to develop the region,” Chunda said.

Man Bahadur Khewang of Surumkhim said that road construction in remote areas should be the top priority of the government.

Though a number of road tracks have been opened in various parts of the district, most of them are not motorable. The DDC has allocated Rs 6 million for six road tracks this year, which locals say is far less than adequate.

“With this kind of budget, it will take decades for the construction work to complete,” Dhital said, adding that inadequate budget was one of the primary reasons for the slow-paced development.

Published: 07-12-2014 09:20

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