Thirteen people lost their lives when a jeep they were traveling in met with an accident at Histan VDC of Myagdi district at the end of July. The accident is still fresh among the locals who were present at the scene and witnessed the death and suffering of the injured victims.
Had the jeep driver obeyed the restriction set by the government and not ventured on the rugged Beni-Ramche road section, the deceased would have lived to see this day. Ignoring the law, the driver took his vehicle through the road section which was not yet opened for transportation services.
“Many people died because of the driver´s ignorance. Taking risk, the driver took his jeep through the road section which had not been authorized for plying vehicles carrying passengers. The road was still in bad shape and in need of construction and renovation work,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) with Myagdi Police, Janardan GC.
It has been more than a decade since transportation services started from Baglung district headquarters to Kushumsher area. Around Rs 1 billion was spent in connecting various road sections within Baglung district, but District Transportation Management Office (DTMO) is yet open 21 kilometers of road sections for public transportation service.
However, despite the restriction, drivers are not only taking their heavy vehicles through the incomplete road sections but they are doing so charging high fares to the customers.
As per the record of Baglung District Development Committee (DDC), 3,200 kilometer road sections have been constructed in four different districts.
Over the years, 1000 kilometer long road section have been constructed in Baglung, 568 kilometers in Myagdi, 1005 kilometers in Parbat and 106 kilometers in Mustang district.
“Ample roads have been built in all these districts over the years but many road sections are yet to receive route permits. However, I don´t see drivers complying with the restriction,” said a local.
“We have offered route permits for 60 kilometer road sections in three districts of Dhaulagiri zone. In addition to that, we have given temporary route permits for 76 kilometer road sections in Mustang district alone,” said engineer at Dhaulagiri District Transportation Office, Madhukumar Ranjit.
Few businessmen further complained that government has not opened route permits even in Baglung municipality area. “When there is no route permit, vehicle operators feel free to break other rules. Besides charging excessive fares, the passengers have to face high risks of accidents,” said a local businessman.
According to Baglung District Development Committee (DDC), there are around 1000 kilometer long rugged road sections mostly in the rural areas of the district.
“Despite the fragile condition of the road sections, public and private vehicles regularly ply through them,” said Chief of Baglung District Development Committee, Prem Prasad Sapkota.
Meanwhile, coordinator of Dhaulagiri Transportation Management Committee, Bal Dev Gautam shared that they have been working to find a solution to the road permit issue in Baglung.
“In coordination with assistant chief district officer and few other officials, we are studying the condition of the road sections to find out whether the roads will bear the weight of vehicles or not,” said Gautam.