Quake-damaged Manaslu Circuit awaits restoration

- SUDIP KAINI, GORKHA

Mar 30, 2016-

Delays in the reconstruction of the earthquake-damaged Manaslu Circuit have forced tourists and locals to travel dangerously, locals said.

The popular trekking route remained closed for six months after last April’s devastating earthquake. It was recently reopened after minor repairs. However, travelling on the route is still hazardous, and locals are worried with the monsoon approaching as the rains will make travel even more difficult. 

“Debris of landslides triggered by the April earthquake are yet to be removed from the Manaslu Circuit,” said Tek Bahadur Gurung of Lapu. “Although the track of the road from Soti Bazaar in Thumi to Hawa Danda in Lapu has been opened, landslide debris has not been removed.” 

The District Development Committee (DDC) has requested various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to restore the circuit, but no significant development has happened, according to locals.

“The track is dangerous even for the pack mules that are used to transport daily essentials in the region,” said Bhim BK a local herdsman. “If the track is not rebuilt before the monsoon, movement will be impossible during the rainy season; and the entire northern section of the district will be cut off.”

The cost of transportation by mule caravan has also increased due to the difficult terrain. Locals have demanded that the tracks which can be used even during the monsoon be rebuilt.  

The Manaslu Circuit used to see a significant number of trekkers annually, but there are fewer trekkers now as the trails have become dangerous after the tremor. “Only a small number of tourists have come this year,” said Sapana Gurung of Soti Bazaar.

Locals have made makeshift wooden bridges at various places on the track which are not very secure. The Budi Gandaki River has washed away parts of the track at Yarubagar, and locals have thrown a narrow wooden bridge over it for the movement of people and goods temporarily.

Pack mules used to transport goods have fallen to their deaths after losing their footing on the rough and narrow trail. 

The DDC has authorised the Department for International Development (DfID) to build a bridge at Yarubagar. DfID representative Krishna Devkota said that they would build a metal bridge before the monsoon. 

Published: 30-03-2016 09:03

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