Bigwigs prefer to fly
Mugling, August 3, 2016:Â It is an open secret that the Mugling-Narayanghat road is in a sorry state and very little has been done to help matters.
Instead of putting in any effort toÂ improve the road, the movers and shakers are simply avoiding this section altogether in their travels.
In the past, the Area Police Office (APO) at Mugling used to regularly escort high-profile persons, including ministers and other important officials, taking this route. They used to get requests almost every day for security escorts from Mugling to Narayanghat.Â This has changed of late and no bigwigs have sought escorts from the APO because they are avoiding this route.
â€œWe are required to escort former and incumbent ministers whenever necessary. However, we have not received any such request since April 25,â€ said Inspector Yogendra Bahadur Hamal at the APO.
According to him, the APO escorted former prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on May 7 when he had gone to address a mass meeting at Bharatpur. Prior to that, they escorted Minister for Industry Som Prasad Pandey.
Influential politicians and the well-to-do have stopped using the Narayanghat-Mugling road and they choose to fly instead.
â€œWe only see people of modest means using this route these days. Those who are well-off can hardly be seen,â€ said Nar Bahadur Gharti, who operates a tea stall at Tope Khola. â€œThis route has become the last choice for everyone as vehicles get stuck in traffic snarls in case of landslides, which are frequent,” he said, adding,”Sometimes traffic snarls happens even when there is no landslide.â€
The 36-km Narayanghat-Mugling route is also full of big potholes. Vehicles easily get stuck, snarling traffic on a daily basis. Goods trucks use the route and obstacles created by poor road conditions easily impede the flow, according to Inspector Hamal. Vehicles attempting to overtake make the situation even more difficult.
Bhakta Bahadur Gurung, a local, said that people with power and influence who are in a position to effect change remain unaware of the state of the Narayangarh-Mugling because they hardly need to use it. â€œThey will not know about the plight of locals and travelers passing through unless they see it first-hand,â€ added the 72-year-old
Upgrading of the Narayangarh-Mugling road began in 2015 with a target of completing the work within two years. However, things are far behind schedule. The project office informed that only 23 percent of the work has been completed so far.
According to locals, the upgrading work has caused traffic snarls and rampant drilling with heavy machinery has led to landslides on a daily basis.
The locals are gripped by fear of landslides burying their homes. â€œI cannot stay calm inside my house. Landslides have been occurring a lot and it is just a matter of time before there is loss ofÂ life and limb and damage to property,â€ said Dhan Bahadur Chepang of Chandi Bhangyang-9.
Nir Bahadur Gurung, who also runs a local tea stall, said landslides have given them sleepless nights.
ByÂ Naresh Kumar Paudel and Narahari Sapkota