Tanakpur-Pithoragarh national highway far from being an all weather road
Pithoragarh, Sept 27
The 150 km long Tanakpur-Pithoragarh all weather road, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the year 2016, to facilitate smooth transportation of defence supplies at borders with China, could not become an all weather as it remained closed for 300 times during monsoon in last three monsoons, according to B.S. Mahar, District Disaster Management Officer, DDMO, Pithoragarh.
This National highway remained close for 350 hours on 55 days in 2022 and 545 hours on 110 days, till October 19, in the year 2021, according to Manoj Pandey, District Disaster Management Officer of Champawat district.
The Pithoragarh portion of the road is still closed (on September 27, 2022,) from last 72 hours.” The road remained closed for several hours on many days,” said B.S. Mahar, District Disaster Management Officer of Pithoragarh.
Three portions of this all weather road from Banlekh in Champawat to Pithoragarh were inaugurated in March 2020, while 4th portion from Banlekh to Tanakpur is yet to be inaugurated.
“The road could only be an all weather only after the landslide sensitive points on this road are treated and the 167 meters long bridge at Chalthi gets completed,” said Sunil Kumar, incharge executive engineer of the all weather toad.
He said that out of three portions of the road have already been inaugurated by the Prime Minister online including the portions that witnessed landslides in last two years.”Only the 4th portion of road from Banlekh to Tanakpur has to be inaugurated due to under construction bridge at Chalthi,” said the engineer.
“The frequent closure of road due to shooting of heavy boulders following heavy rains during monsoon months is due to presence of 51 slide sensitive points on the road, which needed treatment to stabilize the road,” said the NH engineer.
According to NH officers it takes at least three years time to stabilize any road newly constructed amid landslide zones. All the sensitive points from landslide points of view have been identified by an expert’s team of Tehri Hydro-electric development corporation (THDC) recently, as it has an MoU with Ministry of Road Transport, Government of India, to treat landslide zones of the road. “Out of these sensitive points, an estimate of over Rs. 192 crore for 28 points, is in last phase of approval by the ministry, while rest estimated of 23 remaining sensitive points is under preparation,” said the NH executive engineer.
The main lifeline road of border district of Pithoragarh and main link road for security posts at Indo-China and Indo-Nepal border has been closed for over 25 times in this monsoon.” Even the shortage of essential communities gets felt in Pithoragarh town if the road remain close for more than two days ,”said Pawan Joshi, president of Traders Union of Pithoragarh district.
“The 28 landslide prone points, for which the estimated have been sent are from Tanakpur to Bhartoli point, estimates for rest 23 points are being prepared,” said the officer.
The Tanakpur to Pithoragarh all weather road, only part of part of ‘Chardham’ all weather road project in Kumaon region, was announced by the Prime Minister in the year 2016, and the construction by NH division of state PWD was started in the year 2017. The project was to he completed in the year 2019, but still yet remain incomplete. “Due to unexpected rock behavior and non-availability of labourers during Corona duration of two years, the completion of road has been delayed,” said the NH engineer.
Another major reason is delay in the completion of a concrete bridge at Chalthi, that is likely to be completed by March 2023.