People risk lives to collect firewood
Jul 18, 2015-
Seventh-grader Sanimaya Tamang of Dhadingbesi was busy pulling wooden logs from the swollen Trishuli river on Friday. Her 47-year-old father Bibek Singh was just next to her doing the same job and reminding her to be cautious.
Sanimaya’s mother, Phulmaya, was on the river bank collecting the logs so that they could sell it as firewood in local Malekhu bazaar, a popular stop on the Prithvi Highway for fish dishes.
Bibek Singh said they sell the firewood for Rs 300 to Rs 400 per bundle depending on size. “If it is saal log, we get better money because hotel owners prefer it,” he said.
The Tamangs said it is their usual job in the summer as they do not have farmland to plant paddy. “We have only three ropanis of land and no other job is available in the rainy season,” Bibek Singh said.
The Tamang couple said they used to crush stones in the river banks but the floods have displaced them for the whole season.
Besides the Tamang family, dozens of people, including hotel owners in the area, were seen pulling firewood from the river at various places such as Chhahari, Benighat and Sallang. “Our school is closed for summer vacation. That’s why I am helping my parents,” said Sanimaya, adding that many of her friends too are doing the same job these days.
Tamang family said they collect up to seven bundles of firewood in a day and when the river is flooded, they can collect more logs. They, however, said collecting firewood from the river is too risky as the floods can sweep them away.
Police Inspector Hemanta Bhandari of Gajuri Police Station said people often ignore their warning not to go to the river during summer. He said seven people drowned in the river this year, including two in the past one month.
Published: 18-07-2015 09:00