Chhangru, Tinkar cut off from district headquartersFloods and landslides have severely damaged the foot trail linking the villages to the rest of the district, local residents say.
Chhangru and Tinkar, two remote high altitude settlements in Darchula’s Byas Rural Municipality-1, have been disconnected from the district headquarters, Khalanga, for the past one and a half months.
The foot trail linking the villages to the rest of the district has been disrupted by floods in the Mahakali river and landslides in several places, local residents say.
People from the two villages have been using the Indian territory to go to Khalanga and return home.
“The floods in the Mahakali river and several landslides have disrupted the foot trail above the Dumling area of Byas Rural Municipality-2,” said Aspal Budhathoki, a resident of Byas-1.
He came to Khalanga a few weeks ago via the Indian territory.
According to Budhathoki, the foot trail has been severely damaged in around 15 places since the start of the monsoon season this year.
The villagers of the high altitude settlements descend to Khalanga and other low altitude places every winter with their livestock to avoid the severe cold. They make their journey back home in the spring season.
The process to seek permission from the Indian authorities to pass through their land is tedious, say local residents.
“We need to have the recommendation of the ward office and the district administration office. We then have to wait for permission from the Indian authorities to use their territory,” said Budathoki.
In the 1970s, a horse track was constructed connecting Chhangru and Tinkar with the district headquarters. But the track was closed off during the Maoist insurgency and fell into disrepair.
The Nepal Army repaired the track in the Ghatibagad area last year but the track is not suitable for the movement of their domesticated animals, say local people.
Chhangru and Tinkar are about 100 kilometres north of Khalanga. There are a total of 170 households in these two remote settlements.
The trail along Dumling-Budi was also damaged by an explosion caused during the construction of a road on the Indian side. According to Budhathoki, the boulders thrown into the Mahakali river shifted the water current that led to soil erosion along the foot trail in several places on the Nepali side of the border.
The local people have been demanding that the authorities repair the entire stretch of the old horse track so that they can easily walk to and from Khalanga. All three tiers of the government have assured them of repairing the horse track time and again but their assurance remains unfulfilled as of now.