As India completes the road widening work of the West Bengal-Kakadvitta section, Nepal gets connected to the Great Asian Highway (AH) Network.
Asian Highway is a 32-country road network that aims at enhancing the efficiency and development of the road infrastructure in Asia.
The section of highway that connects Nepal starts at Thailand and passes through Myanmar, Bangladesh, and reaches India via Nepal’s East-West Highway.
With the connection to the Asian Highway, Nepal’s rural business is expected to reach international markets.
“When the Asian Highway comes into operation, our agricultural produce will easily find international markets,” said Tikaraj Dhakal, President of the Jhapa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Likewise, President of the Mechi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rishi Timsina said, “When the road is wide, the border becomes more economically vibrant.”
Earlier, the Indian Government has constructed a 790-meter-long bridge over the Mechi River on the Nepal-India border. Now, the Nepali Government has constructed a four-lane ‘Miteri Bridge’ on the Mechi River at the eastern gate of Nepal.
“The dilapidated and narrow Mechi Bridge was inconvenient for transport as it was difficult to move large containers. Now that the new bridge has been built, transport has greatly eased. Vehicles ranging from bicycles to large container bearing trucks can easily pass without having to stay in a jam for hours on end,” said Dhurba Raj Bishwakarma, Head of Customs at the Mechi Customs Office.
Citing that the narrow bridges on the Kakadvitta-Panityanki road had caused traffic jams, a local tourism entrepreneur Netra Karki said, “connecting with the Asian Highway will also help our tourism.”
“The highway will facilitate trade with India, which in turn will also boost Nepal’s trade with Bangladesh and Bhutan,” said Vijay Dalimiya, former President of Jhapa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Asian Highway connects the eastern portion of Nepal at Kakarvitta and passes through Itahari, Dhalkebar, Pathlaiya, Hetauda, Nayanghat, Butwal, Kohalpur, Attaria, and Mahendranagar. It covers a length of 1027km in Nepal.