Poor road condition sees decline in tourist numbers in Sankhu

- Rastriya Samachar Samiti, SANKHU

Jan 17, 2019-

Sankhu, an ancient town in the northeast part of Kathmandu, is witnessing a decline in the number of tourists due to deplorable road conditions in the Chabahil-Sankhu section, tourist entrepreneurs concluded.

The 11.46-km road section, which leads to popular destinations such as Nagarkot, Bhotechaur (a tea estate popularly known as ‘Mini Ilam’, in Sindhupalchok), Jarsingh Pauwa and Jhule, is currently in a sorry state, and that is affecting tourist inflow in the areas, particularly Sankhu.

The road section-which is currently eight metres wide—is undergoing expansion work to make it 22 metres wide. But the project is incomplete and unmanaged. The project should have been complete by December last year. Sand and aggregates lie alongside the road. During the monsoon, the road section is muddy; in summer, it is full of dust. Paragliding pilot at Shankharapur, Ajay Chaulagain, said, “The road here is in such a poor condition that tourists are facing problems reaching the place.”

According to him, tourists who come to Shankharapur for paragliding are annoyed by the inconvenience the roads are causing. He argued, “Good roadway is one of the main factors that boost tourism. But because tourists are finding it inconvenient to come to Shankharapur, they have started choosing alternative destinations.”    

Moreover, travel agencies have been sending their tourists elsewhere. Nagarkot-based Hotel Heaven Hill’s proprietor Ram Prasad Timalsina shared, “The vehicles used for tourists get stuck in the middle of the road due to potholes. It is perilous for two-wheelers to travel on these roads.”

Hotelier Timalsina complained that frequent calls of attention to government bodies and the road construction company responsible for the construction of the roadway on the issue have gone unheeded. The Bouddha-Jorpati-Sankhu road is in a deplorable condition for the last three years. The condition of the Jorpati-Sundarijal road is also quite dire.

The roads become muddy when it rains and dusty when it does not. The thick dust that ensues when vehicles ply the road has become a cause of concern for the people living in the vicinity, roadside vendors, and regular commuters.

“One cannot even see the road because of the dust during the dry season. The innumerable potholes and ditches in the road make driving risky and challenging. The condition gets worse when it rains,” explained Dev Narayan Chaulagain of Narayantar, Jorpati. Three years ago, the government had proposed a plan to upgrade the Bouddha-Jorpati-Sankhu road into a 22-metre wide four-lane road from Chabahil. The Kathmandu Valley Road Extension Project called for tenders in May 2015 for the construction of this road, and awarded the contract to four construction companies four months later. But the companies failed to deliver, and the responsibility of completing the project was handed to a new company. Till date, the said company too has failed to deliver. To justify its failure, project information officer Bishwa Bijaya Lal Shrestha said that the works have been delayed because the company has been caught up with complications relating to the compensation process. The Supreme Court has recently issued an order to provide compensation to the people whose land has been acquisitioned for the road expansion.

 “Road expansion works are progressing ahead smoothly, except at paces where there is dispute over land. The work would be completed soon,” he said.

Published: 17-01-2019 08:08

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