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Bauli River has no bridge, Tipada River has two at same spot

Bajura : It has been almost seven years since the Martadi-Kolti Road of Bajura came into operation. But the Bauli River that cuts this road in half still does not have a bridge over it. This makes it difficult for vehicles to get across, especially during monsoons.

Just last week, a man lost his life when trying to cross the river on his tractor. Dub Narayan Chaudhary, 32, of Joshipur, Kailali and his tractor, numbered Se 2 Ta 3225, were swept away when he was attempting to drive across the swollen Bauli on July 23. His body has not yet been found.

According to Laxman Bhandari, who drives a jeep on the road, said crossing the river, which flows through Badimalika Municipality–9, during the rainy season was a risky endeavour. “The lack of bridge has created a lot of problems,” he said. “Many days, we do not even try to cross the river because it is too flooded.”

This makes travel to and from Himali, Swamikartik, Jagannath, Budhinanda and other areas in the north-east of the Bajura district difficult, Bhandari added.

Meanwhile, the Tipada River on the Sanfe-Martadi Road in the same district has two bridges literally next to each other. There is a motorable bridge enabling people and vehicles to cross the river without worry and a Bailey bridge alongside it doing the same thing.

“Why is it that Bauli does not have a single bridge and a person dies because of it while Tipada has two bridges at the same place?” Padam Saud, a resident of Badimalika Municipality, questioned what he called the unfairness of the situation.

He felt that the July 23 tragedy could have been avoided if the Bailey bridge over Tipada was brought to Bauli. “We deserve a bridge too!” he exclaimed.

Maybe Saud and others of the region would have received the bridge they need and Chaudhary would not have died had the contractor fulfilled its duty. A contract worth Rs. 50 million was called in the fiscal year 2021/22 and Jugal Construction Company was appointed to construct a 25-metre bridge.

But the contract expired in June this year without much being done, complained Road Division Office, Achham. The Office’s head Bibas Basnet said that the company had asked for an extension to its contract but had not clarified why it could not complete work within the initially stipulated period. “We will not extend the contract until we know why the company did not finish in time,” he stressed.

For its part, Jugal claimed that work got delayed because floods washed away the foundation and rods it had laid for the bridge.

But Basnet said that the contractor would have to pay a fine for failing to meet the first deadline. (By Sher Bahadur Sarki/The Rising Nepal)

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