Locals of Susta using boats to cross Narayani River since ages due to lack of bridge
November 24, 2019 08:05 AM NPT
By: Rekha Bhusal
People of Susta, Nawalparasi, boarding a boat to cross the Narayani River to reach the district headquarters Parasi on Saturday. Photo: Rekha Bhusal/Republica
BUTUWAL, Nov 24: The settlement of Susta in Nawalparasi shares border with India. On the western side, there is the Narayani River that serves as the borderline between the two countries. The locals have long demanded a bridge over the river, but to no avail. And the lack of bridge has made their life miserable.
"It takes hours to get across the river. There is no bridge," said a local boatman Samshuddhin Miya. "In monsoon, the water level becomes excessively high but we still have to ferry people across the river despite the risk," he added.
Miya stated that the other side of the river is around two and half kilometers away. And it takes over two hours in the monsoon, to get to the destination. When the weather is adverse, things get tough and it takes longer to reach the other side.
During winter, it takes only half an hour though. Locals of Susta are compelled to cross the river this way since decades.
Miya further stated that India closes the gates of the canals during the monsoon. And that adds pressure to the water, making it difficult even for seasoned sailors like him. "We find it very hard to get through during the rainy days. India closes the gates of the canals," he said.
Locals lament that their settlement remains isolated due to the lack of bridge. For every little work, they have to get across the river and life turns miserable as the journey is risky and time consuming.
"Our children go to school across the border and their lives are always at risk. We have to go to the market across the river to India. Hospitals are far away," said Hina Harijan of Susta.
Also according to Laichidevi Kurmi, another local of Susta, the lack of bridge has made people's life a hell.
The local's accuse Seema Suraksha Bal, India's paramilitary force, of extortion. "They harass us. We have to take their permission to go to the other side. But we have to go anyway, as we purchase everything from the Indian market," she said.
She added that a bridge over the river would change people's fate.