Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

With a permanent bridge constructed over Marachhu in Athang, Wangduephodrang, people of Lopokha-Phaktakha and Lomtshokha chiwogs will no longer have to rely on log bridges to cross the river.

Villagers will also no longer have to replace the log bridges that get washed away every monsoon. Farmers of the two chiwogs have to replace the temporary bridge at least once every year.

The new bridge, inaugurated on May 14 by the works and human settlement minister Dorji Tshering, Member of Parliament of Athang-Thedtsho, Kinley Wangchuk, and dzongkhag officials have a load capacity of 18 metric tonnes (MT).

The new bridge will benefit people of 63 households who commute through the bridge to travel outside the two chiwogs.

According to a farmer from Lomtshokha, Sonam, there were incidents when the log bridges got washed away a day after they were laid.

He said they had constructed around six log bridges to connect the two chiwogs during the monsoon at different locations.

Athang gup, Khandu Dorji, said farmers from both chiwogs had their lands on the opposite side of the river, which made it difficult to do farming during monsoon.

He said that despite having machinery for farming, farmers had to resort to old practices, as machines couldn’t be transported to the other side.

According to the gup, felling trees to construct temporary bridges every year was a challenge, as the area also falls under Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

He said that at least eight logs were required to construct a single bridge.

With the new bridge, farmers are looking forward to increasing agriculture activities. Farmers today cultivate potatoes and chillies in the chiwogs.

The bridge was built with a budget of about Nu 8 million. Works began last year.