KATHMANDU (RSS): The lingering dispute over land compensation has thrown the construction of the Birendrangar Ringroad into limbo for the last 17 years. In 2005, the government started to construct the 29km-Ringroad from the Subbakuna-Bangesimal section to connect the whole Birendranagar Valley, which is now the capital of Karnali Province.
Disputes of compensation for private land and problems in securing clearance of forest in a protected area along the proposed Ringroad are major causes behind the delay in the implementation of the project. Over the period, only 22 km of the Ringroad has been constructed, of which 2 km is still not blacktopped. Compensation dispute with local landowners is affecting the construction in Birendranagar Municipality 1, 2, 8, and 12.
“If the development is for the people, it should be for the benefit of people, not for displacing them without proper compensation,” said Amrita Karki, a resident of Birendranagar-2. Karki, who is also a landowner to get compensation, further demanded that the government settle the dispute by providing reasonable compensation. Rukum Paschim-Chaurjahari Road Division Office, however, stated that 60 percent of progress has been made so far in the Ringroad construction. Suresh Basyal, an engineer of the office said the construction along the road section where no dispute is reported, has been completed.
“Around 60 percent progress has been achieved so far in road construction,” said Basyal. Though the government and the contractor company signed an agreement to complete the road within four years, the construction could not move ahead as per the plan despite of deadline several times. As per the latest timeline construction of the road should have been completed by March 2022.
However, the construction is still standstill due to continued compensation disputes. The responsibility of constructing the Ringroad has come to province government from the federal government. Due to a lack of sufficient space to widen the road, the width has been reduced to 11 meters from the originally planned 13 meters.
“We reduced the width due to the problem to acquire the required land to go with the original plan,” said engineer Basyal. Mohan Maya Dhakal, Mayor of Birendranagar Municipality, however, said efforts are on to move forward with the construction of the road settling the compensation dispute.