The recently-opened 88 kilometre Jomsom-Lomanthang-Korala road track has brought about a visible change in the lifestyle of people in Mustang.
According to locals, after vehicles started plying along the road, the number of domestic tourists visiting the area has substantially increased and prices of daily essentials have remarkably decreased.
“A couple of years ago, rice cost Rs 40 per kilogram but since the operation of vehicles, it is available at Rs 14 per kilogram,” said Londup Bista, a hotel entrepreneur. “Rice used to be a luxury as it had to be brought on horseback in the past. But it has managed to emerge as regular food of people in Lomanthang,” he said. The change in the lifestyle of people in the upper region of Mustang is brought about by the road.
The road connectivity, however, has affected certain traditional business enterprises. For instance, horses, an integral part of the society and the only means of transport in the past, are no longer significant. And the business of professional horse breeding has been bleeding to death.
“There were trade relations between people living in Upper Mustang with Chinese nationals even before Mustang was connected to the Capital via roads. Later, the Beni-Jomsom road added to the bilateral trade between the countries,” said local civil society leader Indra Dhara Bista.
With the opening of the Jomsom-Lomanthang section of the road, one can reach Tibet in just two days from Pokhara.
According to locals, they started digging the track in Choser, Chonhup, Lomanthang, Charang and Ghamigari at their own initiative under the government scheme named ‘Aafno Gaun, Aafai Banau’ (Develop your village on our own) in 2004.
Date: 13 May, 2014