Jajarkot-Dunai road nears completion

- JANAK NEPAL, NEPALGUNJ

Jan 17, 2018-The long-awaited Jajarkot-Dunai road, touted as the fate and future of Dolpalis, is in the final stages of completion. The road links Jajarkot, Rukum and Dolpa districts in remote western Nepal.

Of the road’s total length of 118 km, only a 4.2-km section, which needs to be carved out of hard rock, remains to be finished. 

A 4-km track between Khadang near the Dolpa border and Tripurakot is planned to be opened within six months. Colonel Bishwa Bandhu Pahadi, head of the Road Construction Working Committee of the Nepal Army, said, “Now we have to open only a 4.2 km track through cliffs containing hard rock.”

Pahadi said that opening the track of the remaining portion was challenging as it passes through various cliffs like Siudini, Kalo Jabla, Betujhare, Taptape, Phulpane, Yeripatan, Dhaunne and Chugad. 

Even though a long section of the Jajarkot-Dunai track, which is part of the Bheri corridor connecting the northern border has been opened, vehicles cannot easily pass over the road. Only one bridge, the Rimna bridge, has been constructed even though a total of six bridges need to be built. 

The Roads Department has called for bids for the construction of the remaining five bridges at Nalsinghgad, Chisapani over the Bheri River, Tallubagar and Rupane-Tripurakot on the completed portion of the track.

After the construction of the Chinchu-Jajarkot road was completed in 2007, the government handed over the responsibility of constructing the Dunai road to the Nepal Army. 

Eight years have passed since work began to open a 118-km long track from Pasagaad in Jajarkot to Dunai. Work stalled for two years in the beginning due to confusion whether to construct the road along Jajarkot or Rukum. Political wrangling also delayed construction. 

The project got off the ground after an agreement was reached among stakeholders that the road would be constructed along the banks of the Bheri River and that it would pass through both districts. A total of Rs800 million has been spent on the project so far.

Member of Parliament Bir Bahadur Shahi of Dolpa (B) said the project was delayed because adequate funds were not allocated even though the government used to announce through the budget statement every year that the road would be completed in two years.

The working committee of the Nepal Army moved the project forward rapidly after adequate financing was made available in recent years. 

“In the beginning, two years were spent arguing whether the road should be constructed in Jajarkot or Rukum. 

This issue was eventually resolved, but work was held up as the government did not issue adequate funds for some years. It is only recently that the project has been making progress. If there are no more obstructions, we are hopeful the track will be opened,” he said. 

Even though the Nepal Army has said that the project will be completed by mid-July this year, he said he would be happy if a motor vehicle reaches Dolpa by the Dashain festival in October. 

Almost 47 km of the Jajarkot-Dunai road lies in Jajarkot, 30 km lies in Rukum starting from Triveni and the remaining 41 km lies in Dolpa. Motor vehicles have reached up to Pasagaad, Manmai-Radijiula, Tallubajar and Triveni. Tractors have begun going from Khadang.

The Chinchu-Jajarkot road has been upgraded and blacktopped with the assistance of the World Bank. The Nepal Army said that it handed over a 78-km section to the Road Division Office last year for expansion of the Jajarkot-Pasagaad section so it could reach up to the Bheri corridor. 

Colonel Pahadi said that the road section was handed over after it had been inaugurated by a Nepal Army general in August 2016. 

After Dunai is connected to the national road network, major activities on the Bheri corridor will be oriented towards the northern border. During the recently completed elections, political parties had pledged to connect the northern border points. 

He said that the left alliance won the election because Dolpa had been made accessible to motor vehicles and because of its promise to connect the northern border points. “This wish of the people will surely be fulfilled within five years. We will endeavour to fulfil the wish.”

Published: 17-01-2018 08:19

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