Construction of Mahakali Corridor roadway project, that could be a possible the tri-junction of Nepal, India and China, has been going in a very sluggish pace.
Only 30 kilometres of the total 413 kilometres road has been black-topped even though 12 years have passed by since the construction was started. The construction of this road was started in 2009.
The Mahakali Corridor roadway starts from Brahmadev of Kanchanpur district and reaches to Tinker in Darchula district. It passes through Dadeldhura and Baitadi district.
The construction works are moving ahead at a sluggish pace. Engineer at the Mahakali Corridor Darchula Tinkar Road Project, Milan Ghatani, said the works on opening the track of the road are being carried out in all districts.
“Looking at the entire project, 30 kilometres of the road has been asphalted at various places of Darchula district. Works have not been carried out at the zero point (Brahmadev area),” Ghatani said.
Although a contract worth Rs 55 million was signed in June last year for opening 15 kilometres track from Brahmadev of Kanchanpur to Jogbudha, Dadeldhura, construction works were not carried out. The Diwa-Shanidev JV had won the contract for opening the track in this sector.
The construction company said it has not been able to start the construction works as the Project has not yet finalized the topic of cutting down trees for the road construction. “A little bit of construction work has been done in the open space where there is no forest. The topic of cutting down trees for the road construction works is pending with the Ministry of Forests and Environment,” Ghatani added.
One thousand 951 trees have to be cut down in Kanchanpur area alone under the Corridor. The 15-kilometre track has to be constructed within 2024, but the construction company spent a whole year without any work. Mahakali Corridor Darchula Tinkar Road Project has said works on opening track is going on in the remaining three districts.
According to Project Office, 22 kilometer track has been opened in Dadeldhura so far. Fifty-four kilometer track of corridor should be opened at Dadeldhura area.
Engineer Ghatani shared that out of 145 kilometres track in Baitadi, 70 kilometres has been opened. The Nepali Army has got responsibility to open 78 kilometres track, out of 200 kilometers, in Darchula.
The project named as Darchula-Tinkar road in 2066 BS was changed into Mahakali corridor in 2074 BS. Though it has been considered as the important corridor of Sudurpaschim Province, the government has decreased the budget for the project in the current fiscal year as compared to previous fiscal year.
The project office shared that Rs 794.2 million was allocated for the project in the fiscal year 2021/22, only Rs 410 million has been allocated for the project in the current fiscal year. Activities of the project are being delayed due to procedural reason including cutting down trees.
A total of 1,951 trees have to be cut down along 11-kilometres area in Kanchanpur, 10,476 trees in Dadeldhura, 4,596 trees in Baitadi and 2,042 in Darchula under the corridor, according to Mahakali Corridor Darchula-Tinkar road project office.
“A total of Rs 570 million has to be deposited at the Forest Development Fund to cut down the trees and we have deposited Rs 370 million,” Engineer Ghatani said, adding the issue of cutting down the trees would be finalized once the remaining amount is deposited.