TEHRATHUM, Sept 8: There are roads, but no bridges. Locals of Tehrathum district lament that they have not been able to enjoy transportation facility due to 'insensible' development. Even though there are dozens of rivers from Chiyobhanjyang of Panchthar district in the east to Jhulaghat of Baitadi district in the west, the mid-hills highway that links the two points lack adequate number of motorable bridges. The road which is a national pride project has hence failed to give relief to people.
"We have a highway. But then, there are no bridges to link the highway. So the highway is almost useless for the people, who were earlier so elated over the construction of the road," said Yam Nath Dahal, local of Khamlalung village. "In monsoon, water level in the rivers rises. But we have no option than to cross it risking our lives. We even cross our motorbikes and four-wheelers through those rivers despite the threat the rivers pose," he added.
In rainy season, not only the water level rises, but also the force is fierce. Locals lament that the lack of bridges has left them isolated.
"You cannot dare crossing the river without a reliable team. If you go alone, you are at high risk of being swept away. When in emergency, you are simply helpless," Dahal stated.
There are several suspension bridges in the district. Most of those are in dilapidated condition. The wires, nets and even the support system at the base are worn out. However, people have been using it.
"Suspension bridges are in such a worse condition that they might kill you. They are hanging so fragile. Yet, people do use them," Dahal added. "They do have budget, they do have projects, but they are not in a hurry to finish their work," he added.
Over half a dozen of motorable bridges are under construction along the highway. Work in most of those bridges has been left midway, including the major bridge on Khorunga River at Maynglung - Sakranti road section.
According to Suresh Tumbahamfe, an engineer who oversees the Khorunga bridge, the delay is due to the negligence of the contractor. Koshi and Neupane Builders Company had received the tender of the project in 2016. "So far, they should have completed it. But they have not even started working," Neupane reported.
The contractor company had got the responsibility of the Rs 40.9 million project. According to Neupane, the company bagged the tender by showing a cost lower than the estimated cost but then failed to deliver on time.