The Nepal government has expedited the process of construction of the Darchula-Tinkar Road, also known as Mahakali corridor, near the India-Nepal border adjoining Pithoragarh. The aim of this road construction, sources said, is to “minimise the dependence of Nepalese citizens on Indian roads”.
Many Nepalese nationals were forced to cross over to India to use roads here in order to reach their villages in Nepal. Once the road is completed, not only will locals in Nepal not have to depend on India, the Nepalese armed police — which has set up a series of border outposts in the area — will also be able to carry out patrolling in the stretch with ease.
Further, access to the China border, which lies beyond Tinkar, the last point on the road, will become better. This will also enable Nepalese tour operators to take pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar through this route.
Sources added that the Nepalese government had some months ago deployed its army to complete the 134-km-long road, of which only around 43km had been constructed over the past decade. Government officials in Dharchula (in Pithoragarh district), told TOI that the road was being constructed by Nepalese army on a priority basis. “We have come to know that a helipad has been constructed at Ghatiabagar in Nepal to facilitate the transportation of equipment required for road construction,” said Dharchula SDM AK Shukla.
The escalation of work on the road comes against the backdrop of souring of relations between India and Nepal. There is palpable tension, especially among people living in the vicinity of the border, after the Nepalese parliament earlier this month passed a map showing areas like Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani in Uttarakhand as part of its territory.
Meanwhile, when TOI contacted Sharad Kumar Pokhrel, the chief district officer of Darchula (Nepal), equivalent of DM in Nepal, he confirmed that the road between Darchula and Tinkar is being constructed but refrained from commenting further.