Friday, 24 May, 2024

Postal highway construction moving at snail’s pace


By Santosh Subedi, Siraha, Mar. 20: Three years on, construction of the road from Siraha’s Balan River to Kamala River along the ambitious Postal Highway passing through the central Terai still remains incomplete despite extending the initially stipulated deadline.

On December 24, 2017 Swachhanda Roshan Mahadev Khimti Joint Ventures signed an agreement to pave and upgrade the 20.88 kilometre stretch of the road from Balan to Kamala River at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.20 billion.

The company could not complete the work assigned within the agreed time but it has been granted an extension until June 2021. With four more months offered as grace time, the Joint Venture has a great deal of work to accomplish.

Within that time frame, it has got to pave the 11-metre-wide road, and complete the 120 dilapidated culverts and bridges along the Siraha section of the Postal Highway. According to Postal Highway Project Engineer Jayanath Yadav, almost 90 per cent of the base construction work has been completed.

“Out of the 30 kilometres within Siraha section, 20 kilometre of the road will be blacktopped within coming April,” he said. While Yadav admitted that the work was delayed as a result of COVID-19 outbreak and cold spell, he assured that the entire 30-kilometre road would be blacktopped within June.

“Apart from constructing the culverts that dot the highway, the bridges over the Kamala and the Balan rivers will also be finished,” added Yadav. Despite the construction company’s reassurances, the locals remain unconvinced that the road will come into fruition by June. “I have been hearing that the Postal Highway will be blacktopped since the time of the Rana regime when I was a child.

I am 80-years-old now and all I have been hearing is fake promises and unreliable claims that the road project is gaining momentum,” said Biltu Yadav, 80-year-old resident of Bariyarpatti. Stressing on the reason for the delay, Bishwo Mohan Yadav, chairman of Nawarajpur Rural Municipality, which falls under the Postal Highway, talked about the electricity poles, monasteries and temples that still remain in the middle of the road obstructing smooth construction.