Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

Proposals to build three suspension bridges in Sarpang dzongkhag did not get the required support from the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) members during the recent session.

Local government leaders proposed building bridges over Dawlachhu and Jogichhu in Gelephu and Langkharchhu between Tareythang and Umling gewogs.

The DT decided to hold the proposals to build suspension bridges in Gelephu drungkhag for some years since a major development project is expected to take place in Sarpang.

Given that Umling Middle Secondary School does not have a boarding facility, the DT decided to place class six graduates from Tareythang Primary School at Norbuling Central School in Serzhong gewog. 

Umling Drungpa Karma Wangdi said that the bridge is not required if the students are sent to boarding schools. “Many people travel on the main road, so the bridge is unnecessary.” 

The request, according to the gewog officials, is to shorten the distance their children walk to school and back home, especially during monsoon.

Gelephu Gup Prem Prasad Katel said that most school-going children live on the other side of Dawlachhu, Shethikarichhu, and Jogichhu. “About 300 students have to walk 7kms everyday crossing the swollen rivers.” 

“This poses great risk to the children as some of them play along the banks. The schools sometimes have to declare holidays when the students cannot come to the classes,” he said.  

“We don’t expect a concrete bridge to be built since there is a shortage of budget with the government,” he said, adding at least a suspension bridge would bring relief for the parents, schools, and the local government. 

Tareythang Gup Dhan Man Gurung said that the need for a suspension bridge over Langkharchhu was discussed several times during the DT for many years now.

He said the bridge will shorten the travel distance by 7kms if a suspension bridge is set up. “The bridge would immensely benefit the patients going to visit a doctor from Tareythang BHU to Umling hospital.”

“During the summer, parents have to walk a long distance to reach their children’s school in Umling. All children are mostly minors and face a lot of difficulties,” he said.

Umling Gup Sangay Tenzin requested the DT to incorporate the proposals in the 13th Plan. He said that without financial support from the dzongkhag administration, building a bridge is not possible from the gewog budget that would cost Nu 2 million.