Raskot (Kalikot) –When the procession of passenger vehicles reached Raskot section of Sannigadh-Sipkhana road (18 km) via the Karnali corridor on Wednesday, the ecstatic locals welcomed them with garlands to the tunes of local musical instruments.
With the connection of the remote villages in Raskot with the Karnali corridor that connects the district headquarter Manma with Surkhet-Nepalgunj, the villagers have finally realized their long overdue dreams. 12 of the villages have been connected to the road. Despite the on-going construction of Karnali Corridor Khulalu-Humla-Hilsa road alongside the Karnali river by the Nepali Army, villagers had to walk for hours in the absence of access roads. The resident of Raskot-1, 64-year old Pari Lal Neupane remarked: "Finally, our longing for the road has come to a fruition."
Neupane, who is a farmer by trade, presented the guest participants of Sannigadh-Sipkhana road handover programme with the local produce of cardamom from his own farm. He added, "Our agricultural produce will also find a market now." He also told that he switched to cash crop in the form of Cardamom because of the absence of road which would provide a market for vegetables. "Road is synonymous with development," said Devjang Shahi. "Hopefully the road connection will help subside the hardships of the locals." He also told that they will no longer have to take the steep routes of Sannighad. After a decade of operation of Karnali highway Surkhet-Jumla road along the banks of Eastern Tila river in Kalikot, the Karnali corridor is being constructed to connect the villages on the Western side. Although the corridor alongside the river reaches Humla, the 18 km road had been under construction for 4 years with British aid to connect the villages of Kalikot from the back end of Syuna and Mehelmudi i.e Sannigadh to Sipkhana.
The road which has been hailed as a landmark in the entire district was handed over to the Raskot Municipality by RAP-3 programme. Chief of Department for International Development (DFID), Rurik Marsden, Joint-Secretary of Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD), Ananda Raj Dhakal, Member of Provincial Assembly, Sushila Shahi, Chief of District Coordination Committee, Anipaal Shahi and other dignitaries travelled to Raskot for the handover programme. In an official ceremony, Sannigadh-Syuna-Sipkhana road was handed over to Mayor of the Municipality, Kashi Chandra Baral with the responsibility for repair, maintenance, and improvement. Out of the total cost of Rs. 34 crores 31 lakhs 4 thousand, the sum of 29 crores 96 lakhs 14 thousand has been spent on labor wages. According to the RAP-3 District Team Leader, Bishnu Ram Bista, the road has been constructed in an environment-friendly manner keeping climate resilience into consideration. VDSEF Chairman, Min Bahadur Bogati informed that though land compensation and other problems plagued the construction of road problem initially, it later became easier. He also added that the programme has earned the trust of people because of transparency, public hearing, equality in remuneration based on work volume, selection of workers from marginalized community etc. The road links a dozen villages of Baddala, Gorkhali Gaun, Pipalmuda, Ranawada, Bijayapur, Coligaun, Sipkhana, and Serachaur. The mayor of Sanni-Triveni rural municipality, Dambar Bahadur Shahi has requested the programme to operate in Sanni-Triveni and Narharinath rural municipalities in order to connect Mumra, Mehelmudi, Raku and airport of Kotwada in Narharinath with Karnali corridor.