Vehicles reached Nepaltar, Ilam in 1958 but the 12-km road between Nepaltar and Mangalbare is yet to be surfaced. The two kilometres of the road that were surfaced two years ago are damaged. The road is wide, but the vehicles run on a single land because of its condition. If a vehicle breaks down in the middle, the road is blocked until the vehicle is fixed.
"Even though 52 years have passed, the condition hasn't improved," says Netra Khanal of the Association of Ex-Indian Army Officials. "As soon as the monsoon starts, the road becomes muddy and it becomes difficult to travel." When the road was an agricultural road, it was maintained by the consumer committee. The road was then categorised as a division road so that it would get surfaced. But all initiatives to get it surfaced have failed because of corruption.
The road is crucial to earnings in the district, bringing in more than IRs 400 million. Ginger, cardamom, peas and other agricultural products are exported to India via this road. But its condition has limited the development of the district. The Indian government has donated an ambulance, but it cannot run on the road, the local health centre exists but doctors refuse to come. "We are building infrastructures of education and economic development," says Moti Gautam, a local. "But the face of this area would be transformed if we had a surfaced road."