The construction of the Hilsa-Simikot road, which had been halted due to the lack of explosive materials for the last one and a half years, is expected to resume soon. The Nepal Army will be supplying 3,000kg of explosive materials to clear the rocks at the Chyachada road section.
The road, which will connect the north-western Nepal with the bordering region in Tibet, is expected to facilitate the movement of Mansarovar pilgrims. Currently, helicopters are used to ferry pilgrims to and from Simikot to Hilsa that costs up to Rs80,000 per person. Travel trade entrepreneurs said that once the road is constructed, the costs will go down to Rs10,000.
According to the Hilsa-Simikot Road Project, the construction works had been halted since fiscal year 2015-16 due to the lack of explosive materials required to blast rocks along the 400-metre stretch of the road.
The project estimates it will take 4-5 months to clear the rocks. If things go as planned, Simikot will be connect with Hilsa by mid-November. The 95-km road from Hilu on the Tibetan border connects Simikot via Hilsa. Of the total road stretch, 71 km track has been completed.
Locals have been plying vehicles in the newly opened track-from Nimkha Rural Municipality of south of Hilsa to Okhartahala. The two-day long distance from Simikot to Hilsa will be reduced significantly after the opening of track. The road has also reduced hassles for the local to walk at the altitude of 5,000 meter in Narlek.
Locals are supplying goods from Taklakot in Tibet on vehicles using the newly opened road.
A 24km road is being built between Simikot and Okhartahala. Out of this stretch, 15km track from Simikot to North Hekpa has already been operated. The entire 24km section will come into operation by mid-November if the rocks are cleared, said Tej Bahadur Mahat, a contractor of the project.
Sunam Lama, a local contractor, said that nearly half a dozen vehicles ply the road between Hilsa and Okhartahala. “The road has been facilitating the locals who procure goods from Taklakot in Tibet. Vehicular movement has been smooth except on the days when there is snowfall,” he said.
It takes two days to reach Taklakot market in Tibet from Simikot which has made locals of northern remote districts easier to trade goods, he added.