Transportation in Nepal : Roadways, Airways, Railways, Waterways, Ropeways
Transport means carrying people and goods from one place to another, for example, by using buses or trains. It is very important both in our daily life and in the process of national development. We cannot walk long distances on foot; nor can we carry heavy loads on our back. Other kinds of development also depend on the development of transport. If we have to build schools for the development of education or hospitals for health services for people, we need roads and trucks or tractors to carry brick, stone, sand, cement, etc. Man is a social animal. He has social relations with other people who live far from him. His own family members may be doing job in distant places. They must go and come back home, and for this the only means is transport. Besides this, our requirements have increased tremendously. We need to import goods. Here also lies the importance of transport.
Ponies, yaks, elephants, donkeys, tongas, wheelbarrows, bullock-carts, rickshaws are slow means of transport while motorcycles, zeeps, cars, trains, ships, helicopters, aeroplanes, rockets, etc. are fast means of transport. Some of them run on the road, some sail on water and some fly in the sky. So we have road transport, water transport, air transport, etc.
Transport has made the world smaller. It has helped to grow friendliness with other countries. Internal trade and overseas trade have increased. Our life has become easier. But it is not without harms. Fast means of transport like aeroplanes and rockets are used to drop bombs during wars, destroying human settlements and killing innocent civilians. This is a misuse of transport. Similarly many people are killed or injured when heavy accidents occur in the transport sector.
Condition of Transportation in Nepal
Roadways, airways, waterways, railways and ropeways are the various systems of transport. Of these, Nepal has developed mainly two types of transport: roadways and airways. But Nepal is still poor in transport. There are two main reasons for it -physical feature and economic backwardness of the country. There are high mountains, hills, deep valleys and rivers. Building roads in such places is very difficult. Besides, Nepal is a landlocked country. So sea-route is not available. For a poor country like Nepal, it is difficult to meet the high expenses of constructing roads. We have to depend upon other countries’ assistance for major roads. So yaks, ponies, sheep, etc. are still used to carry goods in the mountains. Even in the rural areas of the terai bullock carts, horses, bicycles, etc. are used. Frequently flood, landslide, soil erosion, etc. occur and damage our roads and bridges.
Roadways Transportation in Nepal
Nepal has made considerable progress in roadways. There are several highways which link different parts of the country. Important among our roads are as follows:
|3||Tribhuwan Highway||Kathmandu-Raxaul (India)|
|4.||Siddhartha Highway||Pokhara-Sunauli (Bhairahawa)|
|6.||B.P. Koirala Highway||Banepa-Bardiwas (Mahottari)|
Some other highways are Pokhara-Baglung Highway, Tansen-Tamghas Highway, Gorusinge-Sandhikharka Highway, Nepalgunj-Surkhet Highway, Kathmandu-Jiri Highway, Kathmandu-Dhading Highway, Ilam-Taplejung Highway, etc. Apart from these local highways, mule-trails and foot-trails are also developing in different parts of the country with people’s participation.
Airways Transportation in Nepal
Air transport has been operative in our country since 1953 AD. Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) came into existence in 1958 AD. It was called Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) before 2063 BS. The NAC planes
fly to different places in the country and abroad like India, Pakistan, Japan, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Qatar and Bangkok. Other companies like Yeti Airlines, Buddha Airways, Gorkha Air, Shangrila Air and Sita Airways are also operating their flights. There are about 52 airports in Nepal. The remote parts of Nepal have air links with the capital or other large cities. Helicopter services are also available in our country. Though a bit expensive, air service is very important in Nepal because many places in the mountains have still to rely on this service and it is essential for tourism and external trade of the country.
Railways Transportation in Nepal
Railway service is limited in our country because there are hills and mountains in most parts. Only a small part in the Terai has the railway. The only railway operative in Nepal is Janakpur-Jaynagar Railway connecting Bijalpura with Jaynagar in India. It covers a distance of 53 kilometres. But the railway service is not very good. The engines and the carriages are very old, and during the rainy season, the service is disrupted. There was another railway running from Amlekhgunj to Raxaul in India. It has been discontinued now. We must extend railways at least across the Terai region for the national development.
Ropeways Transportation in Nepal
Ropeways are very useful in Nepal where there are many, mountains. There are two ropeways currently operative in our country. Cable Car service is operative from Kurintar in Chitwan District to the famous Manakamana temple in Gorakha district. Its length is 3.1 km. Another ropeway is 42 km. long and runs from Hetauda to Kathmandu. But it is not running regularly. It is not maintained well either.
Waterways Transportation in Nepal
In spite of vast water resources in Nepal, we have no reliable water transport. Our rivers mostly flow down steep slopes. So these rivers are not suitable for transport. We have no access to seas or oceans. So good water transport is lacking in Nepal. However, rafting in the Trishuli and the Kaligandaki rivers is very popular. Some lakes like Phewa, Rupa, Begnas have boat services.
Steamers are sailing on the reservoir of Kaligandaki A Hydropower of Syangja. A feasibility study of waterways from Ramdighat to Narayangadh and Narayangadh to Bhainsalotan has been made. We need to widely utilize this potential of water transport.
Emailed by the Writer: Hari Krishna Sapkota