A woman of Talkot Rural Municipality-2, Bajhang, using a tuin (improvised cable crossing) to cross the Seti River.
DHANGADHI/BAJHANG, May 26: In October 2015, while assuming office as the prime minister for the first time, Prime Minister KP Oli had signed a project to replace the 384 cable crossings, locally known as tuins, across the country, with suspension bridges.
It has been more than two and a half years since he took the decision but the locals of 25 villages from six districts of Province 7 are still relying on perilous cable crossings to go to other villages. They have been compelled to do so because there are no bridges over the rivers in their villages.
The number of people losing their lives by falling into rivers from tuins is increasing day by day. According to Maya Joshi of Talkot-3, locals have to risk their lives every single day while crossing the Seti River by using the tuin at Dhamena Chirkitte of Bajhang.
Locals have to use the tuin on a regular basis for going to the forest for collecting fodder and timber. "We have to cross the river with the help of a rope that too with heavy loads of timber and fodder on our back," said Maya.
It's not that the locals have not made any effort to get rid of these dangerous tuins but their pleas fell on deaf ears. The locals have time and again knocked the doors of the rural municipality, District Coordination Committee (DCC) and other authorities too but still nothing has been done. During the local elections, the politicians had pledged to replace tuins with bridges but they haven't shown up after the elections, laments Keudi Bohora, a local.
The data maintained by the Suspension Bridge Project which falls under the Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agriculture Roads (Dolidar), as many as 5,291 people of Darchula are still relying on tuins for crossing the Mahakali River. Locals depend on this medium for going to the district headquarters Khalanga and to reach the market of Dharchula which lies at the Indo-Nepal border.
Most locals of Darchula buy their everyday essentials from the Indian markets. And they reach out to those markets with the help of tuins. These dangerous crossings have been placed in 10 different places of Mahakali River. Though there is no exact data of the human casualty, locals claim that every year around 4 to 5 people lose their lives by falling from tuins.
In summer, locals living in various villages of Achham, Doti, Bajura, Bajhang, Darchula and Baitadi use tuins for crossing rivers. So, a total of 230,511 people of Province 7 still risk their lives by using tuins to cross the rivers.