Humla folks still dependent on tuins to cross Karnali riverThere are six tuins still in operation across the Karnali river in the district, say locals.
“Paying Rs.100 to cross the river is too expensive for us, but we have no other option,” said Kali BK of Kharpunath Rural Municipality. “We have to pay an additional Rs 50 if we are to transport goods.”
The locals used to cross the river through a suspension bridge. But the foot trail leading to the bridge got blocked during the construction of the Kharpu-Sunkhada section of the Karnali Corridor a few months ago.
Karna Rawal, the chairman of Kharpunath, said that the local residents collected money and installed a tuin after the foot trail was blocked.
“The federal government has recently invited a tender to construct a suspension bridge in the area. The villagers will get rid of the tuin once the bridge is constructed,” said Rawal.
The residents of Kharpunath have to cross the river to reach Yanchu, the administrative centre of the local unit, to buy essentials. Meanwhile, the villagers of Ripghat and Unapani have to go across the river to collect firewood from nearby forests, as the settlements do not have a forested area. They pay Rs 200 to transport a bundle of firewood back to their village on a tuin, said Kamari BK, a local.
“Water level in the Karnali does not recede even in winter. We have to pay money and cross the river while risking our lives. Otherwise, we have to walk for three to four hours to reach the nearest suspension bridge,” said Bari Mahatara of Kharpunath. According to her, around 50 villagers cross the tuin in Bokchegauda daily.
In October 2015, the first Cabinet meeting of the KP Sharma Oli-led government had decided to replace all tuins across the country within two years. The government had allocated Rs 3.25 billion to that end. However, scores of tuins are still in operation in the country for lack of suspension bridges.
“The decision of the federal government has not been implemented yet. We repeatedly urged the local, provincial and federal governments to replace tuins, but to no avail,” said Sonam Lama, a civil society leader in Humla.
According to him, there are six tuins still in operation in the district.