Business people of Dophuchen (Dorokha) in Samtse are looking forward to the inauguration of Amochhu bridge.

Although the bridge is not officially launched, people used it to go to Phuentsholing after it was tested on June 9 and following the news that it would be completed on June 15.

Officials had to close the bridge for traffic.

Department of Road’s (DoR) project engineer, Tshering Wangchuk, said vehicles would be allowed only after the official launch.

The bridge was expected to complete by June 15 but due to continuous rainfall, they could not meet the deadline.

“Only blacktop works are left now, which would be completed in the next two days,” Tshering Wangchuk said.

Meanwhile, a restaurant owner at Bazaar Dara in Dophuchen, Buddha Lepcha, said that about 80 percent of Dophuchen people would now go to Phuentsholing for shopping.

“In Samtse, we don’t get the preference for choices that are available in Phuentsholing,” he said, adding there is also Jaigaon across the border where everything is available. “We even get options for original and counterfeit materials.”

Buddha Lepcha said that the Amochhu bridge completion is a blessing and good news.

Even prior to its completion, Dophuchen people came to shop in Phuentsholing and transshipped goods manually through the suspension bridge along the Amochhu bridge, he said explaining that he would pay Nu 50 as hiring charge for a labour to carry a 25kg rice bag.

“It was still profitable,” the restaurant owner said.

Dophuchen business people said they ordered specific goods in Samtse and had to wait, as the order would come from Siliguri. Dophuchen is 54-km from Samtse town, while it is about 60km to Phuentsholing, but this would not deter people, businessmen said.

The Phuentsholing road diverts at the 33-km point at Halhaley from Dophuchen.

A shopkeeper, Deepak Sunwar of Sebitsang Tshongkhang at Dophuchen said the Amochhu bridge should be inaugurated soon.

Rajesh Rai | Dophuchen