Hetauda, Chief Minister of Bagmati Pradesh, Dormani Poudel on Thursday laid the foundation stone of the reconstruction work of the 104-year-old man-made historic tunnel. The Hetauda Transport Infrastructure Directorate, under the state government has signed a contract to develop the Churiyamai tunnel on the border of Makwanpur and Bara as a tourist destination. The foundation stone has been laid to start the reconstruction of the first tunnel in Hetauda to help Nepal become known all over the world.
Mayor Hari Bahadur Mahat said that the Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan Municipality has also started work to develop the Churiyamai tunnel as a tourist area. The sub-metropolis has already placed a statue of Dillijung Thapa, the engineer who designed the tunnel. Mayor Mahat said that development work is being done while protecting it.
This tunnel was constructed in 1917 as the first man-made tunnel in South Asia . The tunnel, which was engineered by Nepali engineer Dilli Jung Thapa during the reign of Shri 3 Chandra Shamsher JBR, is being reconstructed as a heritage site. The bid of Mountain Infra Company has been approved for this.
Dr. Sahadeb Bahadur Bhandari, director of Mountain Infra Company Limited, Kathmandu, said that the Directorate of Transport Infrastructure of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development has signed an agreement for the reconstruction at a cost of Rs. 3 Cores 36 Lakhs and 13 thousand rupees. A multi-year plan has been put forward to develop the state as a physical infrastructure study center. The state government is in a state of hurry for the maintenance work after the landslide buried one side of the road, leaving only 280 meters of the road.
The Directorate of Transport Infrastructure, Hetauda, has signed an agreement with the construction company on April 4. Engineer Hari Prasad Ojha, information officer of the directorate, said that the agreement was reached to complete the tunnel reconstruction work on April 30.
If the tunnel had not been built, it would have been necessary to build a road connecting Kathmandu through the Chure Hills. However, it was not geographically possible to do so. Therefore, the Tarai was connected to Kathmandu by digging a tunnel.
The tunnel was built in 1917 to connect Amalekhgunj of Bara with the historical site of Bhimfedi, the old district headquarters of Makwanpur. The tunnel was built to facilitate traffic from the Terai to Kathmandu.
Limestone has been used in the tunnel made by carving the mountain. The walls on both sides of the tunnel are lined with stones and carvings. The Department of Archeology has already tested the historicity of the tunnel. The public is not allowed to observe the tunnel. It could be seen before the earthquake. However, it has been closed due to security concerns. According to the elders, vehicles will be coming from this road till 2020 BS.
Shyam Kumar Bamjan of Churiyamai said that the tunnel in the lap of Chure Mountain is a reflection of the labor, skill, hard work and artistic skills of Nepalis. The tunnel has not come to the fore after it was turned into a cave.