Gangtok: The much-awaited Sikkim-Nepal trans-Himalayan road connecting Dentam in West Sikkim to Chiwa Bhanjyang located at a height of about 10,500 ft along the Indo-Nepal border will see the light of the day sometime in January next year.
The 35-km road will give West Sikkim direct road access to eastern Nepal via the Chiwa Bhanjyang border.
Like West Sikkim, towns in eastern Nepal such as Ilam, Taplejung and Bhojpur will also benefit from the road. Nepal has already constructed the road up to Chiwa Bhanjyang. Work on the Indian side is being done under the border road development scheme of the Sikkim government.
Announced in 2011, the Union ministry of environment and forests gave nod to the project only in 2016. The project is now nearing its completion. As per contractor PK Subba, after getting the nod early this year, construction of the road began on a war footing. The total cost of the project has been pegged at Rs 18.75 crore.
Some stretches of the road crosses reserve forests, wildlife areas and the Kanchenjunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Locals have expressed happiness to be connected with citizens from the other side of the border with whom they share common culture and language.
Tourism in both sides of the border will witness a positive growth. This will include religious tourism with many religious sites dotting both sides of the border.
The exotic, untouched and beautiful locales of Sikkim and Eastern Nepal have a huge potential to collaborate in the field of tourism, particularly adventure tourism, which includes lesser explored trekking trails, among others.
Trade and commerce between the two countries are also likely to be boosted with the opening of border road.
From a security viewpoint, Sikkim Police amd Sahastra Seema Bal, which mans the Indo-Nepal border, will have a quick transit that was otherwise heavily dependent on beasts of burden such as yaks and mules.
NK Subba, the urban development and housing department minister and the MLA of Maneybong-Dentam constituency, had shown keen interest in the project which can directly boost the economy of his constituency and its surroundings.