Monsoon rain torments rural communities and school-going children

The two gewogs has jointly allocated about Nu 0.4 million to be used for the development of the suspension bridge.

SHERAB DORJI

Thimphu

The makeshift wooden bridge that connects the communities of Dizama, Menborang and Khalagtang villages under Choekhorling gewog and Borkatshang village of Nourbugang gewog under Nganglam Drungkhag, Pemagatshel has been washed away due to incessant rain for the past few days.

The parents are now worried that their children studying in Nganglam Middle Secondary School will have to take a long detour which will affect their school timing.

Though the communities are connected with a road and motorable bridge, they use the makeshift wooden bridge as it is convenient and saves a lot of time especially for the school going children and the local people.

Tshejay Norbu, the Tshogpa of Dizama village, said many communities, especially school-going children, use the old route as travelling via the road is risky as the monsoon rain makes the stretch prone to landslides and falling boulders.

He said the other reason could be because it takes about half-an-hour if they travel through the road, whereas the route from the wooden bridge takes only few minutes to reach the school and for other purposes.

Villagers say it is very risky to travel via the road, especially for small children going to school, during the peak monsoon season as there are frequent road-blocks and landslides.

“With frequent road blocks reported along the route, our children often had to take leave from the school for days and weeks on end which really hampers their learning,” a villager said.

Meanwhile, the makeshift wooden bridge was constructed by the locals of the communities as it was the fastest means and the existing suspension bridge was in dire need of repair and maintenance.

Tshejay said the suspension bridge has been non-functional for almost eight years and the bridge is too risky for the communities to use as it is old and falling apart.

The gup of Choekhorling gewog, Kinzang Rabten, said they are aware of the challenges faced by the communities and school children, and that proper remedial measures will be carried out at the earliest.

Kinzang Rabten said the gewog is in talks with the army commander of Borkatshang Army camp to let allow commuters to pass through the camp as a temporary measure as the government has announced covid relaxations in the country.

“If they allow villagers and students to traverse through the army camp, which is restricted at present, it will be a huge relief for the communities living on the other side of the river,” gup Kinzang said.

Kinzang added that they have allocated the budget for the maintenance for the suspension bridge.

The gup said that with the approval from the recent Gewog Yargay Tshogdu, they will replace the old suspension bridge with Kerong Bridge and that works will begin soon.

Meanwhile, the two gewogs has jointly allocated about Nu 0.4 million to be used for the development of the suspension bridge. Till then the commuters will have to take the long detour on the road braving natural elements.