India recently opened a road to Lipulekh pass close to the china border, a development that has drawn sharp reactions from Nepal (ANI)
PITHORAGARH: Amid the escalating India-Nepal border tension, the Nepalese government has restarted work on the 130-km-long Darchula-Tinkar road project in Darchula district.
According to sources, the road project was sanctioned in 2008 to facilitate Nepal-China border trade through Tinkar Pass. Around 50 km of the road for this project runs parallel with the Indian border along Uttarakhand. The sources confirmed the project has now been taken up again and the Nepal government has decided its Army would complete the remaining portion of the road.
It was presumed that the road project will promote not just trade but also pilgrim and tourist traffic in the area. However, almost 12 years on, only 43-km of the road has been laid due to the tough terrain and harsh weather conditions. With continuous monetary losses, the contractor had also left the job, said the source.
The restarting of the project assumes significance in the wake of protests after Union defence minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 80-km road connecting Lipulekh Pass to Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8 . However, protests errupted in Nepal just days after as the country claimed that the Pass is apart of its territory.
Meanwhile, a source told TOI that the official reason behind restarting the road project is to enable movement of people of Tinkar and Chhangru which are migratory villages. In order to finish the remaining 87-km track, the source said, the Army is in the process of setting up a base camp at Ghatiabaghar.