Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rural roads bring economic opportunity

Locals of Tribeni in Parbat district have started selling agriculture products which they previously were impelled to consume locally as the Chisapani-Huwas-Barrachaur rural road that passes through their village has provided them market access.
"Earlier, we used to consume oranges and ginger locally," said Dhrub Basyal, a local youth, who has started a garment business after returning from abroad.
"I went to Dubai in search of employment also due to the insecurity during the conflict," he said, adding that the village has offered opportunities after he returned, post-2006 peace pact. "The road has also brought more opportunities to the village."
He opined that the road could even help promote tourism in Parbat and Syangja as it will link a famous religious point, Triveni, where there is a huge Saligram, that is popular in Hindu scriptures as one of the many forms of Lord Vishnu in stone.
The 16.04-km Chisapani-Huwas-Barrachaur rural road built under the Rural Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Sector Development Programme of Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also helped enhance the livelihood of the locals through skill-based training in Dovilla-Phalewas, Kushma-Durlung, Karkineta-Lunkhu and Chisapani-Huwas-Barrachaur villages.
"The project has provided training on house-wiring, plumbing, off-seasonal vegetables, and veterinary science to around 90 people of the villages to help them take maximum advantage after they get access to road," said deputy project coordinator of Rural Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Sector Development Programme of ADB Thakur Pant. "Some 43 rural roads spreading over 840 km — including bridges and drinking water facilities — in 38 districts are planned under the project with an investment of $106.8 million. Of the total, some 393 km has been completed and the remaining 447 km of rural roads is expected to be completed by 2013 March-end."
Access to market through roads is expected to link the rural people to market centres providing equal and even access to isolated people, disadvantaged women, ethnic groups and help increase their income to bridge the rising gap between rich and poor.
Nepal has the highest inequality in South Asia. "In the past 10 years the Gini-coefficient increased from 34 to 47.3 indicating that the gap between the rich and the poor grew further," according to the Human Development Report 2011 of UNDP.
"Lack of connectivity is a serious constraint for economic development and social inclusion," said Pant, adding that the assessment made under Millennium Development Goals has also indicated the need for an additional 30,000-km of rural roads by 2015.

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