Budhiganga River in Bajura a perennial threat to localsEven though Tribeni Municipality recently banned people from using the bridge, locals continue to use it.
A photo of a partially submerged suspension bridge made rounds on social media this week. The photo featured an elderly man on the bridge, with an expression that falls somewhere between amused and afraid. He is wading through knee-deep water with slippers clasped in his hands.
The bridge in question is one over the Budhiganga River in Taprisera, Bajura. During the monsoon, the water from the river completely overflows the bridge. But the locals have no option but to use it.
The bridge connects Bagapata in Tribeni Municipality to Budhiganga Municipality. The Paima area in Tribeni sees landslides every year, and it’s because of this that the water level rises to dangerous levels, overflowing the bridge.
“There is no other bridge nearby so we are compelled to use it, despite the risks,” said Bhanu Bhakta Upadhyay, a local of Paima.
Even though Tribeni Municipality recently banned people from using the bridge, locals still use it, as they have no other way to cross the river.
“We have asked locals to use another bridge about a kilometre up from Taprisera, until we find an alternative,” said Ram Singh Rawal, the mayor of Tribeni.
Deepak Bikram Shah, the mayor of Budhiganga Municipality, said that since his office can’t afford to rebuild the bridge anytime soon, they have asked the Nepalgunj road office to conduct a survey for a new bridge.
“The unit has completed its work and we are planning to construct a bridge nearby,” said Shah.
But it’s not just the bridge that has been damaged by the river. The raging river has also damaged the road in Amkot, prompting locals to use an alternative road, said Padam Baduwal, chief of Badimalika Municipality.
Meanwhile, Budhiganga River is at risk of getting obstructed by the continuous landslides that occur in the area. If landslides continue to occur, technicians say it will deluge the residences across the river banks and will affect people from as far as Sanphebagar in Achham. The river also damages arable fields every year during the monsoon.