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Bridges built to help stranded villagers reach Vyans valley

The Border Roads Organisation constructed the bridges after tracks linking Dharchula with the Vyans valley were damaged.

dehradun Updated: Apr 19, 2018 22:01 IST
Badri Kasniyal
Badri Kasniyal
Hindustan Times, Pithoragarh
Uttarakhand news
The wooden bridge between India and Nepal comes as a sigh of relief for the Indian villagers. (HT PHOTO)

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed two wooden bridges over River Kali, which demarcates India’s border with Nepal, to facilitate migration of thousands of stranded villagers to Uttarakhand’s Vyans valley from their winter shelters through the neighbouring country.

The bridges were constructed to provide an alternative route via Nepal after traditional tracks that linked Dharchula valley with Vyans valley were damaged in a landslide in February.

More than 2400 villagers from seven villages who had migrated to Dharchula valley during winter got stranded after the road links between the two valleys in Pithoragarh district were snapped, prompting the Indian authorities to approach their Nepalese counterpart to construct the bridges.

According to Dharchula sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) RKpandey the two bridges-- one 40 meters long at Lakhanpur and another 60 meters long at Nazang—were constructed within ten days after getting clearance from the Nepal government.

“The villagers will cross the bridge at Lakhanpur to enter Nepal from Dharchula valley”, the SDM said adding “Through the second bridge at Nazang they will re-enter the Indian territory to reach Vyans valley.”

He said the villagers would now have to travel for over 45 minutes within Nepalese territory to reach Nazang.

According to the SDM, some of the villagers had already started returning to their villages. The villagers of Kuti and Nabhi, most distant part of the Vyans valley, would return from first week of the next month, he added.

Asked about the security of the villagers during their return journey, the SDM said that Indian administration would send home guards to escort villagers in batches as the armed guards could not be sent inside a foreign country.

“Moreover, we are depending on the security arrangement made by a friendly neighbour, who has promised the security of our people during the travel within its territory” said the SDM.

Apart from the stranded villagers, the new bridges would also be used by the traders involved in Indo-China border trades to take their goods by mules to Gunji mart, where they stock their merchandise before the commencement of trade in June, the SDM said.

According to the SDM, the bridges, which are likely to remain intact until the onset of monsoon, will also facilitate the movement of villagers from two Nepalese villages of Tinkar and Changru, who also traditionally return to their high altitude villages from Indian territory during summer.

Meanwhile, villagers of Darma valley, who are also returning from winter migration, demanded reconstruction of three bridges at Dung Dung, Chaunti Sey and Bongathal that were washed away.

“The villagers of Bon village will get trapped at an altitude of 11000 feet if steps are not taken to construct the bridges,” said Asha Bonal, gram Pradhan of Bon village in Darma valley.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 22:01 IST