Govt to replace all Tuins with suspension bridges in 2 years

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Shukara Bahadur, 75, has been operating Tuin over Trishuli to feed himself and his disabled son

Oct 13, 2015-The newly elected government has decided to replace around 350 wire crossings (Tuins) built over the rivers in many remote areas with safer suspension bridges within next two years.

The first Cabinet meeting of the KP Sharma Oli-led government on Monday decided to replace all existing Tuins across the country and allocated Rs 3.25 billion to that end.

Despite the increasing concerns regarding the safety measures and deteriorating condition of existing ropeways in lack of proper maintenance and designs, many villagers in the hill and mountainous areas rely on Tuins to cross rivers. Usually, Tuins have single wire rope, pulley and a simple wooden trolley.

“The new government’s decision taken in the first meeting indicates that it is serious about addressing problems faced by millions of people living in rural regions,” said Madhukar Upadhyay, a watershed management expert.

The Cabinet itself has realised the need of addressing the challenge towards rural development and decided to intervene with the transformation of lives of rural people through a safer and viable transportation means, Upadhyay added. So far, the decision to build suspension bridges to replace Tuins were taken by a specified department under the Ministry of Local Development.

A book titled Ropeways in Nepal released by Nepal Water Conservation Foundation mentions that ropeways, if properly planned, could facilitate access to even the remotest parts of the country where there are no roads.

Due to scattered settlements and difficult terrain, transportation facilities like road networks are still daunting challenge in the country, the book states.

Upadhyay, who co-authored the book along with Dipak Gyawali and Ajaya Dixit, mentions how over the years Nepal has pioneered itself in construction of suspension bridges, a major infrastructure linking many rural villages. Millions of people use Tuins to cross rivers every day.

“We have gained expertise in manufacture, construction and management of suspension bridges over the years. The expertise and knowledge is now sought after in many countries,” he said adding, “Though, replacing over 300 Tuins in next two years would be difficult task, but it is not impossible,”.

Tuin operator worries he’ll lose his job



Shukra Bahadur Chepang did not take the government’s decision to replace all Tuins across the country with suspension bridges very well. The 75-year-old from Dhusa VDC-1 in Dhading operates Tuin as his daily livelihood. Now he is worried that he might lose his job.

Chepang charges Rs 10 per crossing and makes around Rs 250 a day. He has been operating Tuin over Trishuli River for the past six years. His 25-year-old epileptic son is disabled and stays home, a small shack by the bank of Trishuli.

“The money I make operating Tuin is barely enough to feed me and my disabled son. I don’t know what I’ll do after the government pulls down the Tuin,” Chepang said.

The people who takes Chepang’s service are mostly villagers of Ghyalchok in Gorkha district. Most of them are vegetable farmers who use the Tuin to get across Trishuli to reach Charaudi in Dhading where they sell their produce.

“My job is to get people across the river. For that I have to be here all the time,” Chepang said. “This is the only job I have and I do it very well. I won’t get another job anywhere at this age.”

Published: 13-10-2015 09:01

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