By Smita Adhikari, Pokhara, Apr. 18: Construction of the Mid Hill Highway, also known as Pushpalal Highway, one of the long-awaited national pride projects, has been gaining momentum of late.
Locals of Madi Rural Municipality are especially ecstatic over the prospect of the much-needed infrastructure.
About a year-and-a-half ago, the residents of the municipality had voluntarily given their land for the road expansion as a welcome gesture to the project.
Some of the wards of the municipality are secluded from district headquarter Pokhara. Since vehicles find it difficult to ply through the difficult terrain, particularly during the monsoon season, locals have no option but to travel on foot. To make matters worse, trade hasn’t been able to flourish there, depriving the people of employment opportunities.
So, once the project completes, the people living in and around Madi expect that heavy burden will be lifted off their shoulders.
"We hope that the Highway will ease travel and link Madi to the nearest markets," said Chairperson of the municipality, Toran Bahadur Gurung. “The people here have been expecting a lot from it. They hope it will open up a great many windows of opportunities from thriving commercial activities to prospects of tourism," he added.
About 16 kilometres stretch of the Highway is said to pass through Madi, connecting all its wards.
These days excavators are seen working to clear the road section in Ward No. 9, in Rudhikhola, which borders Kaski and Lamjung districts. According to Gurung, the highway will enable many Madi farmers to sell their produce to nearby towns and even district headquarters.
“Alongside the economic gains, we are confident that the highway will improve access to quality education, public health services, not to mention tourism promotion,” he added.
The Highway, which connects Nepal’s east with west, passes through 24 hilly districts. The Madi-section of the project is being constructed by Bharat Dhananjaya Joint Ventures at a total cost of Rs 540 million.