Fast-track construction puts settlements at risk, Makwanpur locals say
Jul 9, 2019-
The debris extracted from the Kathmandu-Tarai fast-track construction site has put several settlements in Makwanpur district at risk.
The road construction, which has been ongoing for the last two years, has put various settlements in Bakaiya, Bhimphedi and Gadhi Rural Municipalities at risk of landslides and floods. The situation has aggravated with the onset of monsoon, locals say.
At least 80 households in the rural municipalities are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, according to Kedar Aryal, a teacher at Prabhat Secondary School.
“The debris continues to fall on the settlements. During winter, it’s the dusty air, and during monsoon, there’s a risk of landslides,” Aryal said. “The settlements need to be relocated, but nothing has been done to mitigate the risk.”
Another local Khil Bahadur Thapa from Bakaiya-5 said the locals had notified the army about the risk, but the authorities paid no heed to their concerns.
“Many of the streams have been obstructed by the debris,” Thapa said. “They run the risk of being flooded during rain. We are living in extreme fear.”
Locals had protested against the construction of the road last year, halting work for a day. The work resumed after the army promised they would work towards mitigating risk and providing compensation to affected households.
But the spokesperson of the Nepal Army, Bigyan Dev Pandey, claimed that the army has not done anything that would cause harm to the settlements.
“We extracted the debris and disposed it safely, mindful of the consequences,” Pandey said. “If there’s anything that’s being put at risk, we’ve already ordered our staff to address it.”
Pandey further said that the construction will continue this monsoon season, unless there is heavy rainfall. The Nepal Army aims to complete the 73.5 km long fast-track—which charts sections of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Makwanpur and Bara districts—within four years.
Contrary to Pandey’s claim, Parbati Rana, deputy chief of Bhimphedi Rural Municipality-8, said that several households in the ward are at direct risk of landslides and floods.
“We have repeatedly told the army about the risk but they have yet to address our worries,” Rana said.
Published: 10-07-2019 07:30