Cantilever bridge left unused after floods swept away approach wayThe trail should be repaired to ease transportation of food and daily essentials, locals say.
A cantilever bridge that was built along the cliff of Yarubagar in northern Gorkha has been left unused after the flooded Budhigandaki river swept away the approach trail one and half months ago.
“The bridge has been left unused as there is no other way to reach it,” said Bel Bahadur Ghale of Yarubagar. “One has to use a rope to reach the bridge, which is very risky. We don’t know when the bridge will come to use.”
Floods in the Budhigandaki river had swept away around a 100 metres of the foot trail on the southern side of the bridge.
Ward Chairman of Dharche Rural Municipality-1 Dilip Gurung says the flood-ravaged way to the cantilever bridge should be repaired at the earliest to ease the import of goods and daily essentials.
“People are using alternative ways along the river bank but the banks are approachable only when the water level in the river is low. Around 240 metres of the foot trail should be repaired so that people and mules can cross the area through the cantilever bridge,” said Gurung. “The local government does not have the budget to carry out the repair works. The federal and provincial governments should provide assistance for it.”
According to Gurung, a temporary path has been built after the risk of food crisis increased in Chumanubri Rural Municipality, which is still disconnected from road networks. Local residents still have to rely on mules to carry food grains and daily essentials.
After the July 21 flood damaged the foot trail, the locals had to carry food grains and daily essentials to their villages.
“It took around two weeks to construct the temporary path at the cost of Rs 800,000. However, we have yet to provide wages to the workers,” said Gurung. “We have demanded a budget from the provincial government for the work.”
Meanwhile, Chumanubri and Dharche rural municipalities have taken the responsibility to repair the damaged foot trail.
“One hundred and seventy pieces of gabion boxes have been used to construct the temporary path. Mules can also make their way through the new trail, which has made it easier to transport food grains and daily essentials to villages now,” said Gurung.
On Wednesday, a team of geologists from the National Disaster Management Authority inspected the damaged Yarubagar and Manaslu foot trail area.
“Locals and people’s representatives requested the team to repair the damaged foot trail at the earliest,” said Dhan Bahadur Gurung, chairman of Chumanubri Rural Municipality.
The 195-metre-long cantilever bridge was constructed by drilling the rocky cliff of Yarubagar with the support of the UK Department for International Development in 2016. There used to be wooden bridges in Yarubagar but they were swept away by the flooded Budhigandaki river in 2014, cutting off the northern villages from the district headquarters.