Commodity prices fall after Dudh Koshi bridge opens

- Dambar Singh Rai, KHOTANG

Dec 2, 2017-

Prices of daily essential commodities have started to drop after a bridge connecting Khotang and Okhaldhunga opened last week. 

The bridge over the Dudh Koshi River was eight years in the making. 

Likewise, a bridge over the Sunkoshi River connecting Khotang and Okhaldhunga opened two years ago after being in construction for 14 years. However, another vital link over the Dudh Koshi River is yet to materialize due to negligence on the part of the contractor.

The bridge over the Dudh Koshi has become a lifeline for Khotang district as it has increased trade and business activities in the area. “Prices of daily essential goods have dropped by Rs5-10 per kg as vehicles are arriving in the district directly,” said Raju Layalu, president of the Khotang Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

People of Khotang were cut off from other districts due to lack of a bridge over the Dudh Koshi River. During the monsoon, people in Khotang had to wait for a portable Bailey bridge to be installed. 

Vehicular movement used to be halted during the rainy season. As a result, goods had to be carried by porters which increased their cost. Construction materials were dearer by up to 25 percent in the local market due to lack of road connectivity. 

Local trader Rajan Acharya said that direct transport linkage to the district had reduced prices of essential commodities. He added that prices of sugar and salt had dropped by Rs5 per kg to Rs90 and Rs25 respectively. Likewise, mustard oil has become cheaper by Rs5 per litre and now costs Rs135. 

Traders said that the price of rice had fallen by Rs200 per sack, while the price of cooking gas has dropped by Rs50 per cylinder. Navaraj Joshi, a construction materials trader, said that the price of cement had gone done by Rs200 per sack, while iron rods had become cheaper by Rs500 per quintal. 

In addition to causing market prices to drop, the bridge has provided a big relief to travellers. 

Traders said that farmers were now dispatching their agricultural products like large cardamom, orange and ginger directly to the cities. 

However, bus passengers are still suffering as public transport companies have not determined the fare and have been charging haphazardly. 

Santosh Subedi, chief district officer of Khotang, said that they would fix the fares soon.  

The bridge over the Dudh Koshi, a ‘suspension motorable bridge’, was constructed by a joint venture of Kalika and Hulas construction companies at a cost of Rs110 million.

The bridge is 120 metres long and 4.25 metres wide. The government has been spending Rs6 million annually to install the portable Bailey bridge over the river.

Published: 02-12-2017 08:31

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