Transport: Villagers of Martang are all excited and upbeat about the new suspension bridge that will be up and ready before monsoon this year.

Monsoon is the season that the people of Martang dread because the village never had a reliable bridge.

For decades, the 23-household village in Dewathang gewog, Samdrupjongkhar battled the swelling river every summer without a safe and reliable bridge. Even before summer starts they have to fetch bamboos and arrange timber to construct a temporary bridge.

The bridge connects the village to the rest of the gewog. The farm road stops at the river and the villagers have to walk about 20 minutes to the other side of the village.

Tshogpa Dorji Jamtsho said Martang chiwog has 48 households but 23 households are located on the other side of the river. Much of the cultivable land is located on the opposite side of the river.

Sometimes while returning home people face trouble crossing the river because the river frequently wash the weak bridge away.

“Sometimes people have to construct the temporary bridge twice a year,” said Dorji Jamtsho.

Dorji Jamtsho said children and elderly sometimes slip and fall in the river. So far, however, there has been no casualty.

A farmer, Sonam Lhendup, said that sometimes it’s difficult to find bamboo. At least 20 bamboo poles go into constructing the 15-meter long temporary bridge across the river. He added that farmers face difficulty transporting ration during emergencies. That how many farmers lose their crops to wild animals.

Come summer, things will not be the same for the farmers of this village. There will be a suspension bridge over the river that will make life easier.

Tshogpa said that people have been raising the issue during gewog tshogde every year. The Nu 2-million bridge is funded by the Government of India.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar