The pillars were erected four years ago and the bridge project was off to a good start. But then nothing happened. Was the budget shifted to some other district or project after another party came to power; was it misused, perhaps even siphoned off by politicians, bureaucrats and contractors involved; or was the money simply not enough to complete the project in the first place? We don’t know. But those are typical questions, and locals along Kamala river are still waiting for an answer.
While reconstruction after the earthquake has barely started, Pokhara International Airport – 40 years in waiting – now appears close to take-off! In fact, two years ago chances still looked slim. But now the USD 215 million project is just a signature-on-a-loan-document away from driving in the dozers. So, who’s providing the loan? Well, not surprisingly, perhaps, China – as opposed to India. Indeed, the southern neighbor has instead been suspected of putting pressure on the government till now to stall the project!
How long time does it take to erect electricity poles in a village? Well, it depends in great part on whether the electricity department provides machinery and/or manpower. If they don’t, as is most often the case, it can take days, even weeks to connect a village. The electricity poles come in concrete or steel and are in either case extremely heavy – it typically takes dozens of hands plus a good amount of skill and experience to bring the poles up and standing. So, how is it done? Well, it varies – but watch this video (left) to see how villagers in Pahari village, Kavre, erected altogether three heavy electricity poles last September.
Kunda Dixit writes in his article: “Horses, mules and donkeys have always been a part of Mustang’s landscape and culture. Horses, in particular, have a prominent place in Tibetan lore and language, the animal not just a means of transport but also serving as a potent symbol of speed, certitude and good fortune. But all this is soon about to change with the arrival of the road from the south that will make it possible to drive from Pokhara to Lo Manthang in less than 12 hours, and connect to the road to the Chinese border at Kore La.” Read Dixit’s article on the effects of the new road here…!
Imagine being on a hike along a seemingly pristine mountain trail, feeling light years away from the noise and smog of the city. Why did you go there? Well, not because you had to reach the market in town or the healthpost to see the doctor or buy medicine. No, you went there longing precisely for the pristine and isolated, hoping to connect with the silence of the mountains and feeling back in time to how Nepal once was. Then, unforgivingly, the roar of a truck breaks the silence and you are left in a cloud of warm dust and fumes as the heavy vehicle climbs on to the next bend. So much for pristine and isolated!
There’s only one highway from Kathmandu directly to the Indian border – and it’s often a hassle taking it. Congestion can cause major delays and even when it doesn’t, the trip easily takes 7-8 hours. But now those troubles may soon be gone. A four-lane freeway – with miles-long tunnels – it set to cut through hills and rocks from Hetauda to the capital. New travel time: one hour! The company behind it is NPBCL or Nepal Burwadhar Bikash Company Ltd and the project title: Kathmandu-Kulekhani-Hetauda Tunnel (KKHT) Highway. The video opposite is in Nepali but shows an animation that tells the story.
“Nepal’s road network is growing but there is an enormous need for more investment. A study in 2007 revealed that the country had 10,142 km in all of surfaced roads and a further 7,140 km of unsurfaced roads. Nepal has 75 District Headquarters and up to 15 have no direct connection by road, while 33% of the population live at least two hours walk from a road, presenting a major challenge to economic growth as well as for other factors such as education or health… Because Nepal is landlocked, it relies on its transport links with China and India for trade and the nearest port is in Kolkata (Calcutta). But there is only one dependable road link between the Kathmandu Valley and India at present and the development of a new route will bring enormous economic benefits.”
So, what are the plans for highways, bridges and tunnels? Well, here’s the article with latest details…
“Nepal has 75 District Headquarters and up to 15 have no direct connection by road, while 33% of the population live at least two hours walk from a road…” In World Highways