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Connecting Nepal, India and China

Devchandra Bhatta

Devchandra Bhatta

Connecting Nepal, India and China

A section of the under-construction Galchi-Trishuli-Malung-Syafrubensi-Rasuwagadhi road. Photo: Devchandra Bhatta

A road being constructed through Nuwakot, formerly known as West No. 1, will be a crucial trilateral road for Nepal, connecting it with China in the north and India in the south.

The Raxaul-Birgunj-Galchi-Trishuli-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung road is being constructed with the aim of connecting China's Kerung, via Nepal’s Rasuwagadhi all the way down to Birgunj, to India’s Raxaul border point. The construction of the road—one of the 15 special priority projects of the government—is in full swing currently with 65 percent of the work completed by now.

According to the Galchi-Trishuli-Malung-Safrubensi-Rasuwagadhi Road Planning Office, Nuwakot, the road is being widened as well as blacktopped with retaining walls wherever required. Currently, work is underway simultaneously on 15 different sections of the road. Chief of the office, Narayan Dutta Bhandari, informs that the work of cutting through the hills of Budhsinghghat and Dhurpure of Devighat has begun while cutting through the Kalchaude Bhir of Galchi-Trishuli section has been completed.

According to Bhandari, the company given the responsibility of upgrading the road from Galchi to Malung— Kovek-Tandi-Rasuwa JV— has expedited the construction work so as to complete the blacktop within the next three months. The width of Galchi-Trishuli-Malung-Syafrubensi-Rasuwagadhi road section will be 30 meters, but only 11 meters are to be blacktopped for now, Bhandari informs, also adding that the most difficult rock cutting of the Galchi-Trishuli section has been completed. The construction company has mobilized nine rock breaker machines, more than 20 technical workers and five trippers daily to cut the 500-meter cliff. Around 200,000 cubic meters of the cliff has been cut off already.

The Galchi-Trishuli-Malung-Safrubensi-Raswagadhi road project is being constructed by dividing it into three sections. The working period of the road has been extended till mid-July due to various reasons. The first section—Bidur-Betrawati-Malung road—is 46 kilometers long.

The planning office informs that more than 25 kilometers of the road has been tarred so far. The construction work of the 19-kilometer Malung-Safrubensi road segment under the second section was signed last July. This section is being widened and walled. So far, only 12 percent of the road has been completed.

Preparations have also been made to upgrading the Syaphru-Rasuwagadhi section; the actual work is set to begin in April. Electricity poles along the road section will be removed by April, immediately after which the upgradation work will begin. The work of moving the electricity poles, which began more than a year ago, is being overseen by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Dhunche Distribution Center which states that there has been a problem in shifting all the electricity poles due to compensation issues which has resulted in obstruction by the locals. Besides some geographical difficulties, the Covid-19 pandemic also caused some delays in completion of the shifting, the NEA claims. The Galchi-Trishuli-Malung-Syafrubensi-Rasuwagadhi road project states that 55 percent of the 325 poles in the road section have been removed. The expansion of this section is estimated to cost Rs 15 billion.