MUSTANG, May 4: Lack of a bridge over the Kaligandaki River has made life difficult for the residents of several villages in Mustang district.
The problem worsens especially during the monsoon, when the river swells and becomes impassable.
Of the five villages in ward 2 of Thasang Rural Municipality, Sirkung and Sauru are located across the river and become inaccessible especially during monsoon.
The residents of Sirkung and Sauru are compelled to take a long route to reach the three villages -- Larjung, Kowang and Khanti -- situated on the other side of the river.
“The villagers use a temporary wooden bridge to cross the river when the river is shallow from mid-November to May. But during monsoon, the bridge has to be removed as it cannot withstand the monsoon currents,” said Manoj Thapa, a local.
“Due to the heavy snowfall earlier this year, the river grew enormous so the wooden bridge was removed at the start of Baishakh [mid-April],” added Thapa.
Women and children are the most affected by the absence of the bridge. Since schools at Sauru village have classes till grade 5 only, the children in higher grades must cross the river to go to the secondary school at Kewang. Many schoolchildren from Sauru village rent rooms in Kewang so that they don't miss their school.
Another local, Hari Tulachan said a bridge has become a basic need for the locals just like food, water and medicines. He said the locals are putting pressure on the local body to construction a suspension bridge as a permanent solution to their problem.
But vice chairperson of Thasang Rural Municipality, Balkumari Sherchan, is less optimistic about the government building a suspension bridge over the river.
Although the Beni-Korala road is a much-talked-about project, there is no feeder road to connect the villages with the road, said Sherchan, adding, "So the villagers' demand for a bridge has fallen in deaf ears for years.