By Our Correspondent Surkhet, Nov. 29: Of the 10 new towns announced by the government in the fiscal year 2021/22, two are in Karnali. Rakam Karnali of Dailekh and Chaurjahari of Rukum West have been declared new towns among those 10 towns across the country.
As the decade of the new town declaration approaches, the development that should have taken place has not yet gained speed. The then government had announced the formulation of 10 new markets connected to the Mid-Hill Pupshpalal Highway.
Infrastructure development work has not picked up speed as 11 years have passed since the announcement of Rakam Karnali's New City in Dailekh's Aathbish Municipality. Although preparations have been made to move the work forward through land pooling for two years, the work has not been completed yet.
The Rakam Karnali project had not gained momentum for several years due to protests by locals against land pooling, but later an agreement was reached. Chief Engineer of Rakam Karnali New City Project Sushil Rasaili said that various consultants who have taken charge of the work have already submitted their reports after facing the issue of land pooling.
He informed that there was no work of allotment of land in the field even after the completion of land pooling. He said they were coordinating with the Land Revenue Office in Dullu for the land issue. Although it is said that various infrastructures will be constructed on the land of the locals and roads will be paved and hospitals constructed, only the gravel work of the road construction, community building, community waiting room, and 270 solar power connections have been completed and handed over to the local government.
According to Rasaili, a tender is being called this year to pave the road from the zero point of Rakam Karnali to the municipal building. Apart from that, other works including a tender for the second-floor slope of the office are also underway, he informed.
Ran Bahadur Majhi, Ward Chairman of Aathbish Municipality-4, said the work was started two years ago after an agreement was reached to build the infrastructure and return it to the locals by removing the cost other than the land. However, the project later said that the work in the new city could not pick up speed due to various reasons and lack of staff. Similarly, Arjun Shahi, a resident of the same place, accused the project of delaying the development of the area by making excuses and other disputes. He said that even after more than a decade since the announcement of the new city, there is no visible structure.
Mayor of the municipality Khadkaraj Upadhyaya said that the government was coordinating to start the work of the new city as soon as possible by giving 137 ropanis of land for urban development. He said it would help the project move forward at a faster pace even though locals had protested for a long time, saying that the compensation was distributed against the Land Acquisition Act based on the report of the Land Acquisition Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office Surkhet.
Similarly, the construction work of Chaurjahari new town of Rukum West is in progress. Roads, buildings, bus parks, service centres and other structures are being constructed in Chaurjahari in the district under the Mid-Hill Highway. Project Chief Dhir Fadera said that the project office was moving ahead with the basic construction work by preparing an integrated development plan in the areas of Kotjahari and Vijayashwori area. The work of tarring 7.2 km of the main road of Chaurjahari has reached the final stage.
Similarly, Khim Bahadur Chand, a staff of the office, said that some construction work on Chaurjahari Ring Road has been completed and the process of re-contracting the rest has been started by DPR. Under the project, an agricultural produce collection centre is being constructed for Rs. 10 million in Chaurjahari Municipality-2.
The first phase of construction of Chaurjahari Bus Park has been completed and the second phase contract process has been moved. The construction work of the integrated service centre at a cost of around Rs. 100 million is being completed within the current fiscal year, said Fadera.
Similarly, construction work of community building has been completed in wards 1, 2 and 4. The land development plan has been approved by the Council of Ministers and will be completed this year. According to the office, solar light connection has been completed in the city and there are additional programmes this year as well.
The project has also completed the work of upgrading Bijayashwori-Mankot-Amalatakura road, Bijayashwori-Melanauli-Khare road, Melanauli, Dande Amrai-Kotjahari road, Sialkhola-Amvachaur road and bus park road from Lamichhane village.
Due to lack of budget, important programmes like Chaurjahari Assembly Hall and Stadium could not be executed and initiative is being taken in coordination with the state and federal governments, said Fadera.