Valley

As Bijulibazar arch bridge opens, some young people find a dangerous adventure

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Mar 26, 2019-

Since the two-lane network arch bridge came into operation in Bijulibazar, it has helped reduce traffic congestion along the busy Tinkune-Maitighar road section. But it has also invited a new risk: dozens of young people are using the concrete structure for a risky adventure, climbing the arch to take selfies and videos and putting them up on social media.

“Almost every day young people are climbing this bridge. Some day, someone could get hurt,” a traffic policeman who was on duty near the Bijulibazar bridge on Monday told the Post. “On Sunday, two young men came here. One took the video and pictures and the other posed. It looked so risky. I asked them not to climb, but they said they wanted to take the shots,” said the traffic policeman who did not want to be named.

As of yet, no accidents have taken place, said Nakendra Aidi, a security guard who for the past six months has been looking after the construction materials on the bridge.

On Saturday, Kapil Khatiwada  @calvinkapil shared a video on twitter that shows two young men narrating their adventure from the Dhobi Khola bridge in Bijulibazar. In the video, the one who’s shooting the video can be seen saying, “There aren’t cops right! Ok guys today we are going to climb this bridge. I am going to be the first one to climb it, and the camera man is  going to be the second one to climb this bridge.” The boy, seemingly in his late teens, runs and climbs onto the bridge, and his friend who is holding the camera follows suit. Spectators can be seen cheering for the young men. After the two reach the top of the bridge, the one who is holding the camera passes it to the other boy as he takes off his shirt to celebrate his climb.

 

Young people oftentimes indulge in such dangerous stunts to take selfies to post on social media. But sometimes, these risky adventures can be fatal.

For instance, in 2016, Bhanubhakta Karki was killed in Parsa when he tried to take a selfie with an elephant. On August last year, an Indian national, Nagendra Kumar Kartik, 42, died during a pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in Humla after he was hit by an aircraft’s rotor in his attempt to take a selfie. Similar stories are heard from around the world; in February, a teenager in Texas was nearly killed while trying to snap the perfect selfie atop a bridge in Dallas. The study published by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary care shows that in between 2011 to 2018, 259 people died around the world as a result of selfie-related accidents.

“Who will be responsible if an accident occurs?” Khatiwada posted on his Twitter account, tweeting to @npmetro @Hello_Sarkar. There are a number of comments showing concerns regarding the safety and risky behaviours of the youths.  

The approximately 510-metre arc bridge over the Dhobi Khola--with a width of 12m, including a 2m sidewalk on both sides--is constructed under the Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project. The bridge has informally come into operation even though finishing work is still going on.

When the Post contacted Bishwa Bijaya Lal Shrestha, senior divisional engineer and spokesperson at the Project, he took the issue lightly and laughed it off. Upon the Post’s inquiry as to who would bear the responsibility if a person were to fall and get injured, Shrestha said that he would bring up the issue in the next board meeting. “I had heard about this too. We will figure out the solution.”    

The construction of the Bijulibazar bridge--and its neighbouring bridge--started on December 29, 2014. The project had missed two deadlines: the first one in December 29, 2017, and the other in December 29, 2018. The project was allocated Rs131.3 million for the work. The other bridge is still under construction.

Published: 26-03-2019 08:36

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