Locals risk their lives to cross rain-swollen Mahakali riverVillagers have to cross the river as they rely heavily on Indian markets across the border for everyday commodities.
Residents living near the Nepal-India border area in Darchula district rely on Indian markets to run their daily lives. Essential goods reach the villagers only after local businessmen bring such goods from across the border. However, since a permanent bridge over the Mahakali river is yet to connect the two sides, locals risk their lives crossing the rain-swollen river on inflated tubes and wire crossings, locally known as tuins.
Locals living from Kalagadh to Sitapul use tuins to cross the river whereas locals in Khalanga and Lali use both tuins and tubes to cross the river from different points.
Apart from daily essentials, materials for construction like galvanised zinc sheets and cement are also ferried across the river on tuins.
A dozen temporary trade points are being operated along the Mahakali river, besides Tigram and Sitapul in Byas, Dattu in Mahakali Municipality and Jaulajibi in Malikarjun. “We rely heavily on the other side of the border. Crossing the river during the dry season is okay, but during the monsoons, it is risky,” said Shyam Singh Dhami, a local of Malikarjun Rural Municipality-6.
According to the locals, they have to walk for at least a day and a half to reach Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula. Locals said that authorities have been planning to construct bridges across the Mahakali river for the past two decades, but the plan is yet to be implemented. “We have no alternative but to cross the river via a tuin,” said Har Singh Dhami, a resident of Byas Rural Municipality. “We will be so relieved if the concerned authority replaces the tuins with suspension bridges.”Tuins are still being used in Syaku Ghat, Naji, Malghtya, Dokat, Battighat, Malghat, Gasku and Dumling areas whereas residents of Uku, Baku, Lali and Sera including others living in a half dozen of villages in Malikarjun and Lekam Rural Municipalities use inflated tubes while crossing the river.