December 26, 2016 03:00 AM NPT
By: DB Buda
JUMLA, Dec 26: Completion of the Hilsa bridge has connected Karnali residents with the Chinese market. The bridge named after its host village, Hilsa in Humla district, connects the region with Burang County of Tibet, popularly known as Taklakot on the Nepal side.
Taklakot, 30 km across the border, is one of the major commerce centers for the Karnali residents. The bridge is a major component of the Hilsa-Simikot Road that aimed to connect the region with Tibet. Though construction of the road was completed earlier, in lack of the bridge, traders and travelers were using traditional means to get across the border. The bridge is expected to boost trade relations between Karnali and Tibet.
The bridge has also made traveling easier for the pilgrims visiting Kailash Manasarovar, Bal Bahadur Mahat, former state minister for tourism, said. “Along with trade opportunities, the linkage will also boost our tourism industry as it makes the region accessible to Chinese tourists,” Mahat said. He informed that traders were already importing clothes and other commodities from the Chinese market at far better prices. Elaborating further on the possibilities, he said that the road and the bridge have paved way for establishing Humla as a major trade hub.
“For establishing Humla as a trade hub for Karnali and other bordering regions, location of the market should be chosen in such a way that it is easily accessible to all,” Dhan Bahadur Gautam, a Humla resident opined.
Construction of the 54-meter long and six-meter wide bridge was started in 2011 with an estimated budget of Rs 65 million. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal inaugurated it on Monday amid a special function.