Travelling by road risky in quake-hit districts

- RAJENDRA MANANDHAR, Dolakha

Jun 24, 2015-

With monsoon intensifying by the day, the risk involved in travelling by road in earthquake-hit Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts has increased. Landslides, which have become a daily occurrence now, have only increased fear of casualties.

For the past few days, the Charikot-based Division Road Office (DRO) has been busy clearing debris along the Araniko Highway, Pushpalal Highway and its link roads.

Organising a press conference on Wednesday, the office expressed difficulties it faces in carrying out its operation due to lack of equipment and adequate safety preparedness required for the task.

The technical study conducted by the DRO indicates that 55-km long road section between Bandeo and Kodabari along the Araniko Highway in Sindhupalchok is at high risk as the ground underneath has developed cracks and become unstable due to recurring tremors. The road section between Lamosangu and Milti Khola along the Pushpalal Highway in Dolakha is also in danger. Both the road sections are prone to landslips and sinkhole, DRO Chief Kamlesh Kumar Karna said. With the increase in landslips in recent days, several travellers have said they managed to narrowly escape death.

“Just as I reached Sakhine section of the Pushpalal Highway on my motorcycle, rocks started falling from above and I managed to narrowly evade death,” one traveller told the Post. A big landslide followed and the road was obstructed for the entire day, he added.

The DRO has instructed passengers to tread the road at their own risk, especially the section between Lamosangu and Tatopani, due to the unpredictability of natural disasters and DRO’s inability to take appropriate measures to safeguard people in the event of one.

“A big landslide like the one in Jure can occur at any time,” said engineer Subharaj Neupane, who has been working in risk-prone areas after the earthquake.

The DRO has also classified the road section from Balefi to Barha Bise along the Araniko Highway as “high risk zone”. As the section between Barha Bise to Kodari is also at risk, passengers have been advised to exercise caution.

Threat of landslides is also high at Boch VDC of Dolakha, along the 5-km section at Charnawati and the 5-km section between Bhirkot and Kalidaha before the Tama Koshi River. According to the DRO report, the 2-km long curved section of Malukhola and the 500 m section from Malukhola and Sitali are also at high risk. Safety of roads in Busti area between Tama Koshi and Jiri and Baghkhor area is also uncertain, according to DRO’s estimation.

The DRO has also classified some bridges in the area as unsafe. Barha` Bise-Bhote Koshi Bridge, Larcha Bridge and Bhairab Kunda Bridge along the Araniko Highway have been kept under close inspection.  Rasnalu Bridge at Those in Jiri is also facing risk of collapse. The DRO has already communicated the peril faced by its staff while carrying out necessary repair works on 13 bridges in Sindhupalchok and nine in Dolakha after the earthquake to the Department of Roads in Kathmandu.

Published: 25-06-2015 08:27

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