Nim Dorji | Bumthang

Villagers of Pralang in Tang gewog, Bumthang, are unhappy that the suspension bridge constructed for them developed cracks before it is completed.

The Nu 3 million budget suspension bridge over the Tang river was constructed for the people of Pralang since September last year as their fields are located on the other side of the river.

Without the suspension bridge, villagers have to walk either from Kizom or from Mitsethang during summer. In winter, they crossover with a temporary bridge as the river subsides.

A villager, Rinchen, said that before the bridge construction completed, the bridge has developed cracks on both sides. “If the river swells or earthquake occurs, the bridge will collapse.”

He said they informed the gewog administration. “We feel the dzongkhag and the gewog officials are ignoring it as I haven’t seen engineers visiting the site.”

Another villager, Sonam Choki, said they are worried to take their cattle over the bridge. “It won’t be safe.”

Villagers also said the bridge is too high for animals to crossover. They said it would even be difficult for people to cross with load over the bridge.

A villager, Khandu, said the bridge constructed to help them, but when it’s nearing completion they don’t know how it will benefit them.

The bridge was also supposed to benefit the people of Zhibdrak and Nagruk as it will shorten the distance to go to BHU and school.

However, the bridge supervisor and technician, Kuenzang, said that he had been there since the first day and assured that the bridge is stable and people need not worry. “People should worry if the cracks are on the main apartment which holds the bridge, but the cracks are on the steps. We will reconstruct it.”

He said the cracks developed as one side of the bridge is located in the marshy area and also the recent earthquake has formed cracks on the steps. “Unless there is a flood and other natural disasters occur, the bridge will last for generations.”

Kuenzang explained the bridge is high as it is constructed in the plain area. “If the height is low, debris from swollen river in summer might hit the bridge and damage it.”

He said the bridge is constructed as per the design from the ministry.

Tang Gup, Ugyen Nima, said that as all the areas nearby are private land, there was no other option. “We are sure that the bridge will last long as the main part of the bridge has no cracks.”

Edited by Tashi Dema