Bridges are the foundation for economic prosperity in rural settlements. However, this may not be true for the people of Thimyul, Somshing, Kyidloong and Rothpa villages under Gangzur Gewog in Lhuentse. They are deprived of accessibility as the Bailey bridge over the Rothpa River is still under construction.
The construction of a bailey bridge over the Rothpa river began in early 2020. It was prioritised after the flash flood washed away the suspension bridge over the river in 2017.
Since the bridge is not likely to complete anytime soon, people are faced with difficulties in terms of mobility.
About 40 families in Kyidloong and Somshing villages are the most affected. They are doing collaborative farming with a monastic school on the other side of the river in Thimyul Village.
So, they often risk their lives to wade across the river
One of the farmers from Kyidloong Village, Tshering Samten was filmed crossing the swelling river along with his power tiller. He shared the ordeal of not having a bridge.
“Students living in Rothpa Village have to cross this river to go to the school. Else they don’t have an option. The monastic school faces difficulty in transporting the rations. If the bridge is complete soon, all these problems will be put to rest,” said Tshering Samten.
His views were echoed by other farmers.
“It is a paddy transplantation season. However, it is challenging to transport paddy saplings. If we cross a river, carrying a stock of saplings on our backs, we fear the river will wash us away,” another farmer, Sonam shared his predicament.
Some farmers take an alternative route through the suspension bridge over the Kurichhu to get to their farms. But it is a long route.
The district administration said the bridge couldn’t complete this month due to the pandemic. However, it is expected to complete this winter.
“We couldn’t get the bridge materials due to the pandemic. But with the improvement in the pandemic situation, we are aiming to complete the construction by December this year,” clarified the Lhuentse Dzongrab, Wangchen Norbu.
This means more than 1,500 people in the four villages will not have to risk their lives by crossing the Rothpa river from this December.
Sonam Tshering, Lhuentse
Edited by Pema Lhaden
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