11 July 2022
Naina in Khaptad, Nepal: the terrible impacts of low quality road construction
The Nepali newspaper Nagarik News carried an article last week, in Nepali, about the impacts of low cost road construction on an isolated mountain community. The hamlet in question in Nainam located in the area of Chhededaha village in Khaptad. The article includes this image of the location:-
As the image shows, a so called bulldozer road has been constructed on the slopes below the community. As is so often the case, the slope has been cut to create a road bench, with the spoil being dumped haphazardly on the downslope side. The material is likely to be colluvium sitting at its angle of repose, so steepening induces instability. The lack of drainage has of course exacerbated the problems.
In locations in which there are concentrations of water, the slope is destabilising at paces and there is active gully formation. On other sections of the road there is the potential for deeper-seated landsliding. The downslope side of the road is very badly damaged.
The article articulates the hazards faced by the community:-
Landslides have been reported day and night. A 12-meter road has been constructed below the settlement. Landslides have been raging in the village since the year the dozer built the road. There is no alternative to relocating an entire settlement. Since there is no open space nearby for comfortable accommodation, they spend the night on the roof of the local house.
In total, 25 families are being affected by these landslides. This pattern is common in Nepal, but road construction continues at a pace. Nepal is now in the middle of the summer monsoon, when these problems come home to roost.