SURKHET, Sept 13: Whenever the locals of Bheriganga Municipality-1 in Surkhet need to reach the district headquarters, they always have to undertake a perilous journey across the Bheri River. As there is no bridge over the river, they are forced to risk their lives using inflated rubber tubes to cross the river.
Over 2,200 households of various settlements of the municipality, including Aadi, Basera, Salghari, Barule, Ghumauney, Sisau, Dhap, Sunkauli, Maniramkanda along others, put their lives at risk to cross the river by using tubes.
Since 1997, a total of 14 people have lost their lives due to lack of safe passage over the river. Just last year, Kalpana Rana and Nar Bahadur Budha Magar lost their lives while attempting to cross the river using tubes. Despite being aware of the risk, they, however, have no alternatives.
Village leaders have already knocked the doors of the local authorities and the government requesting them to allocate budget for bridge construction. However, their pleas have fallen into deaf ears so far.
Just recently, 163 households submitted a memorandum to the provincial and federal government. The letter was submitted to the Department of Infrastructure under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure. They are yet to respond to the request.
“We didn't ask much. Just a suspension bridge is all we want. But they turn their back on us for such a small request,” said Hari Bahadur Thapa, ward member of Bheriganga Municipality-1.
After everything else failed, a committee under the leadership of Hare Budha, a local, has been formed to pressurize the government to fulfill their demand.
“We are losing the life of innocent people every year to the Bheri River. There is no easy and safe way to reach the provincial capital Birendranagar. This is why we formed the committee to pressurize the government to take care of the issue at the earliest,” said the coordinator, explaining the purpose of the committee.
He further stressed that many more lives would be lost if the bridge is not constructed. “Not just the loss of innocent lives, the lack of bridge has also been hampering us economically. We are unable to reach the market and sell our products there.”