Crossing Mahakali remains a challenge for Dadeldhura folkSix people lost their lives while crossing the Mahakali river in separate incidents in Baitadi last fiscal year. Five persons died in similar incidents in Dadeldhura the same year.
Six people lost their lives while crossing the Mahakali river in separate incidents in Baitadi last fiscal year. Five persons died in similar incidents in Dadeldhura the same year.
The incidents happened while people attempted to cross the river that borders Nepal and India through tuins (wire crossing), wooden boats, tyre tubes and even wooden logs. The local people resort to this form of commute because of a lack of suspension bridges over the rivers in the area.
“Nepali people living in the bordering areas depend on Indian towns for employment and daily commodities. Hundreds of people go to India every day to buy basic essentials, to get treatment for minor illness or injuries and to earn their livelihood. People cross this river every day risking their lives,” said Dharma Dutta Kalauni, of Sharmali in Baitadi. The locals even cross the river to collect firewood and fodder.
The number of lives lost in attempts to cross the river in Dadeldhura, Baitadi and Darchula district each year is worrisome.
“People have to cross the river by tuin, unsafe boats, and tubes and wooden planks for lack of bridges. The government authorities do not pay heed to this life-threatening situation the locals have to live through while crossing the river,” said Kalauni.
A huge number of people from Rupal, Jogbudha, and Shirsh in Dadeldhura go to bordering Indian towns of Tanakpur, Kumauni, Chuka, Chmpawat, Tamali and Lohaghat for various purposes. About 75,000 people of a total 149,000 of Dadeldhura reside in the Jogbudha area.
“Boat service is in operation at two places in the Jogbudha area but even a boat ride is not a safe option,” said Sher Singh Mal, who contested for mayorship of Parashuram Municipality in the local election last year. “The heads of the various government units assured that they would construct bridges in four places in Dadeldhura and Baitadi in the past decade, but none have taken any initiatives to do so,” added Mal.
In 2017, when the then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba visited India, an agreement was reached to construct four bridges across the Mahakali river. Soon after Deuba’s visit, technicians of both the countries conducted field survey for the bridge construction. However, no further progress has been made so far.
The then Indian envoy to Nepal, Ranjit Rae, also visited Dadeldhura and Baitadi districts and pledged to build the bridges. “His (Rae’s) assurance have also remained unfulfilled till date,” said Ram Dutta Bhatta, of Jogbudha.