Nepali Times
Letters
Green road


Indeed, the Lamosangu-Jiri road serves as an outstanding model for other mountain roads ('The great green road', # 254) not only for its technically sound and labour-intensive construction methods but also for its role within the complex and somewhat controversial Integrated Hill Development Program. Indeed, some findings from my PhD thesis shall focus on the wider range of impacts: demographical changes (outmigration from Dolakha was reduced), economic strength (mostly the labour-intensive construction contributed to the money-generating power within the area of influence and stimulated further investment there), concentration of rural service centres towards the road, dramatic increase of over 20 percent of forest cover within the Jiri Khola catchment area that is in sharp contrast to other regions where road access accelerated forest destruction, a denser trail-cum-bridge network supplementing the road and intensive settlement growth accompanied by exploding land prices along the road. This demonstrates the importance of a holistic view in project preparation and evaluation. About 15 years ago, the Lamosangu-Jiri road was heavily criticised by Dr Toni Hagen as an archrival to Dr Ruedi Hoegger, who was one of the initiators of the IHDP and the road project. Today, we can conclude that more positive impacts could be revealed than formerly visible thus a broader view of the interdependence of causes and effects is mandatory. The net construction costs of Rs 250 million was relatively cheap, had it not been for the unforeseen Charnawati Khola disaster due to geological/ geomorphologic and engineering misjudgements that cost an extra Rs 202 million.

Dr Michael Griesbaum,
Kathmandu


. Positive articles like Pragya Shrestha's 'The great green road' are greatly appreciated in these troubled times. Although the success story of the Jiri highway is now over 20 years old, the current catastrophic condition earnestly demands all sides, especially journalists to report on news of accomplishment such as this. Even though the road brought tremendous benefit to the people of Dolakha and Ramechhap districts many more people would have benefited had the road been constructed through Dolalghat (from the dusty Dolalghat-Bhumlutar road, all the way up to the Ramechhap border road). All that was needed was a bridge over Sun Kosi. This road would have been shorter, less costly and would have reached the people of three districts instead of the treacherous zigzag up from Lamosangu. Above all, Kathmandu would have had juicy oranges from Pudighyang years ago. Unfortunately, those in power are above the law in our country, so Panchayat leaders did what best served their own vested interests. Second, with the emergence of 'democracy' in 1990, national interests and nationalism had an even more adverse effect. The escalation of Maoist violence after 2001 dramatically accelerated outmigration. With criminalisation, the scenario for Nepal being able to construct exemplary roads (albeit not completely well thought out) like Jiri is grim.

B Raj Giri,
email


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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