Choki Wangmo | Dagana

Hordung Zam, Nichula: Within 30 minutes, two bikes, goats, and a number of people crossed the bridge.

The 220-metre suspension bridge connects other towns to Nichula gewog in Lhamoidzingkha, Dagana. The bridge is a happening place in the otherwise one of the remotest gewogs in the country.

Kul Bhdr Maji, 48, from Hordung said that the bridge is an asset for the residents of Nichula.“In the past, people used rafts, boats, and ropeways to commute to the gewog. It was risky and not for the faint-hearted,” he said, recalling a few instances in the past where people were washed away by Sunkosh.

The bridge was completed in 2011.

 A resident, Bhim Kumar Kafley proudly said: “It is the longest suspension bridge in the country. It takes 15 minutes to cross the bridge.”

Bolero pick-up trucks reach the goods until the bridge from where people transport the goods on their shoulders. About five Boleros stranded within the gewog before the pandemic is then used to transport goods from the other end of the bridge.

Bhim Kumar Kafley said that there is an alternative route from Assam, India to the gewog but due to border closure, some vehicles that used the routes before the pandemic were stranded in the gewog. “We use the vehicles to transport heavy loads in the gewog. But it is challenging at times,” he said.

The Nichula gewog administration’s Bolero is parked on the other side of the bridge, towards Lhamoidzingkha gewog. This, according to residents, hampered service delivery in the gewog.

It takes three hours on foot from the gewog centre till the bridge.

Before monsoon starts, residents stock up their essential items to last throughout the season. It is because during the monsoon, the gewog remains cut off from rest of the towns as the threat from swelling Sunkosh increases.

Without a Basic Health Unit in the gewog, the situation worsens during health emergencies. A sick must be carried for about three hours till Zamdar ferrying point near Assam boarder, from where the patient is taken to Lhamoizingkha hospital, Kul Bhdr Maji said.

Residents hope that the gewog would be connected by a motorable road from Karmaling gewog in the future. 

In the last session of the Parliament, the Minister of Works and Human Settlement, Dorji Tshering, said that the government would soon build a motorable bridge to connect Nichula with other parts of the country.

Most of the developmental activities in the three gewogs in the drungkhag are withheld as the government is yet to start the highly anticipated Sunkosh project.

Patience, however, is running out among residents. They are visibly exasperated. “The project has been delayed for years. We are deprived of basic amenities,” one said.