‘Highway’s 4-lane upgradation may cause felling of over 12,000 trees’


By Hari Prasad Koirala,Urlabari, Aug. 13: More than 12,000 trees will be chopped down in the forest area when Kakarvitta-Laukhi section of the East-West Highway is made four-lane. 

Environmentalist Rajen Shrestha informed during a public hearing organised by Susung Engineering Consulting Korea in association with Environment and Resource Management and Tech Studio of Engineering Private in Kanepokhari Rural Municipality in Urlabari, Morang that the 120-km-long underpass would be constructed for the wildlife crossing while expanding the road.

The highway located in the municipality will be 4.720 kilometres in length, with the width being 24 metres. 

Similarly, social and rehabilitation expert Rabin Dhakal informed that 377 structures in the municipality will be removed, of which 12 will be completely destroyed and seven partially destroyed. 

Giving brief information about the environmental impact assessment report of the road, Dhakal said that he had submitted suggestions to complete the construction work with minimum damage.

The Asian Development Bank will invest about Rs. 28.17 billion in the project.  The road, which is planned to be completed in three years, will be of ‘Asian Highway Standard’. Out of the total, 36.2 km lies in Morang district.

Shrestha said that the track of the road that passes through Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts would be opened by coming January and the construction work would start from the beginning of next year.

The first phase will be constructed with cycle lanes, footpaths and drains in the urban areas from Kakarvitta to Itahari. Signature bridges will be constructed at six places where the bridges are longer than 300 meters.

The road will be 24-meter wide in the rural and forested areas, 33-meter wide in semi-urban areas and 50-meter wide in the urban and main market areas. 

According to the project, the underpass will be constructed in nine highly populated areas including Kakrabhitta, Ittabhatta, Charali, Birtamod, Damak, Jhumka, Biratchok, Itahari and the forest areas.

During the programme, the residents of Kanepokhari Ward No. 5 and 7, who will be affected by the road, expressed their concerns and fears about various issues related to the traditional way of living such as water sources and demolition of local graveyard near the road. Locals have also pointed out the need for an overhead bridge in Kanepokhari.

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