POKHARA, Oct 18: Around 18 public vehicles carrying passengers reached Koto village near Chame, the district headquarters of Manang after being linked by a motorable road on Wednesday. The district earlier had no access to motorable roads linking the district to other parts of the country.
According to Indra Bahadur Gurung, an army official engaged in the Besisahar-Chame road construction project, all vehicles will be allowed to reach Chame after the official inauguration of the Kote-Chame road section.
A passenger jeep was the first public vehicle leaving for Koto village from Besisahar on Wednesday, informed Gurung. A group of Nepal Army officers had reached Chame on jeep as a trial ride before accessing public transportation.
“Doubling the task force, we had determined to complete the road construction before Dashain and we have met that deadline,” said Gurung. “However, we are allowing only light weight vehicles,” he added.
According to Gurung, currently only light weight vehicles are being allowed to ply the road section. Now locals can reach Chame from Besisahar within seven hours.
On the 65 km long Besisahar-Chame road section, local vehicles were only allowed to travel till Chyamche village, which lies 31 km from Besisahar. “The road runs along stiff cliffs and single mistake can take life easily and many drivers have been found drinking and driving in this region,” said Gurung.
According to a newly set up schedule, all jeeps coming from Koto to Besisshar should leave by 2 pm and by 4pm they should cross Dharapani VDC. The jeeps leaving for Chame should also pass Dharapani by 4pm. “We set this daily jeep transportation schedule keeping in mind the high risk involved in the night ride,” said Gurung.
An all-party committee of Manang has also published travel rates for the public transportation. For one way transportation from Bessisahar to Chame, each passenger has to pay Rs 950 and while transporting goods on the jeeps the person has to pay Rs 13 per kilo.
“These rates set for the transportation of goods and passengers are only temporarily. New rates will be fixed soon,” said acting Chief District Officer Gyanendra Parajuli.
Chairman of Manang Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chitra Prasad Dwale shared that the road section has largely benefited the locals. “Traveling has become so easy and availability of road transportation has lowered the cost of goods in Manang district,” said Dwale.
According to Dwale, people had to pay Rs 25 per kg while transporting good on mules from Besisshar to Chame as porters charged Rs 80 per kg.