Mugu: With the successful completion of the 67km long Mugu Humla Link Road (MHLR), Humla, Nepal’s most remote district, is finally linked to the country’s formal road network.
Built as part of the UK’s flagship Rural Access Programme Phase 3 (RAP3), the well-engineered motorable link road replaces a walking trail and is the longest road the UK has helped build in Nepal under RAP3. The road also crosses the highest altitude for any RAP road at Chankheli Pass which lies at 3300m. MHLR includes 4 bridges. Thirty-seven km of the road lies in Mugu, while 30km lies in Humla district.
The road was built at a cost of £10.6 million in UK government assistance.
“The successful completion of this project demonstrates that when local people, different spheres of government, and experts come together for a common goal, big changes are indeed possible,” British ambassador Nicola Pollitt said. “It is also a shining example of long-term strategic collaboration delivering the UK’s green, resilient inclusive development objective for Nepal.” She also requested different spheres of the government of Nepal to maintain the road adequately.
As a result of this collaboration between the UK and Nepal, transportation costs have been reduced by 66 percent. Food prices have gone down as well. The price of a sack of rice has been reduced by 43 percent. Access to markets, health facilities, and schools has all been improved.
The program employed over 4400 local laborers to build the MHLR road. More than 35 percent of the workforce was women. In addition, the project also employed poor men and women to maintain provincial and local roads in Karnali province. The road construction and maintenance under the RAP3-MHLR project created about 12 lakh employment days, 40 percent of which went to women. Equal wage rates between men and women resulted in high confidence of women, breaking age-old discrimination in the region.
As MHLR was designed to deliver resilient roads and communities, MHLR bridges and roads will prove crucial in responding to inevitable natural disasters and health crises. MHLR has also planted 25 trees for every tree felled for the road and ensured quality for roadside retaining walls, including through bioengineering.
MHLR has also helped local communities and the government to overcome job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic by creating road maintenance jobs in Karnali province. It also helped the community fight the spread of the pandemic by distributing medical supplies, which helped the Karnali province government deliver their infrastructure work in a safer environment.