8-14 January 2016 #790

Building bridges

Deepak Kharel in Nagarik, 6 January

Januka Timilsina (pic, right) of Gimdi in Lalitpur lost a finger while travelling on a hand-operated cable stretched across a river to reach her school in Manthali of Makwanpur. She is not the only one. Several of her friends and classmates had also met with similar accidents, and some even lost their lives when they fell off the precarious cable into the Sewane Besi River.

On Monday a suspension bridge connecting Manthali and Gimdi was inaugurated to the joy of villagers on both sides. The construction of the 139m long suspension bridge began in 2013 with an investment of Rs 8.2 million. Twenty thousand villagers from Manthali and Gimdi will benefit from the bridge.

In his first cabinet meeting Prime Minister KP Oli announced a decision to replace cable with 366 suspension bridges in two years at a cost of Rs 4 billion.

In 2010 five people fell into the Trisuli River when the cable they were hanging on to cross the river snapped mid-way. Soon after the tragedy an investigation committee was formed which submitted a report outlining the dangers of cable crossings for children and identifying places to construct suspension foot-bridges.

Five out of 12 deaths in accidents are caused in cable mishaps, according to a government report. Khotang has the highest number of cable river crossings, with 45. And there are 43 in Baglung, 42 in Jajarkot, 39 in Humla, 30 in Mugu and 11 in Kalikot.

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Building bridges

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