The bridge over Bhalujhora river in Pasakha, which collapsed partially five days ago, has affected commuters.

With traffic closed for light vehicles, people are now carrying the rations manually. Heavy vehicles, however, ply through Bhalujhora river as usual.

At the bridge site on June 19, more than 30 light vehicles were stranded on both the sides of the bridge.

Sonam Tobgay, who runs a canteen in one of the industries, said he had to pay extra to ferry the rations. “It is extra work, costly and time-consuming,” he said.

Along with the problem of the bridge, Sonam Tobgay said the road condition to Pasakha industrial estate is at its worst.

He said staff in the industrial estate depends on the supply of ration his canteen supplies.

Another businessman, Norbu Wangchuk, said the problem of Bhalujhora bridge and Pasakha road are not new. “People have gone through the same problem every summer,” he said. “We only see temporary measures.”

Norbu Wangchuk said that relevant agencies only worked when there is a problem. “They should work in favourable months.”

People are paying Nu 10 as carriage charge per 25kg rice bag to the labourers.

One taxi driver, Bhim Bahadur Tamang, who was also ferrying rice bags yesterday, said his business is running at a loss. “This is a big problem. I am not able to go to Phuentsholing.”

Taxi drivers also said that the road to Pasakha needs maintenance. They say there are several points on the road that have become difficult to drive through.

Meanwhile, people can still walk over the bridge because a bailey bridge was already constructed over the portion where the damage occurred.

The Bhalujhora bridge was constructed in 1986. Heavy vehicles headed to Pasakha industrial estate were also allowed to ply until 2014 when it was stopped as the bridge had weakened. Only light vehicles were allowed.

A new bridge construction started in 2015 but the project did not complete, as the contractor couldn’t carry targeted works on time.

The Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL) is constructing the bridge now.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing