‘We have no choice but to risk our lives’

A teenager has died after falling into the Seti River.

Dhullu Adhikari, 17, was crossing the wooden bridge built over the Seti River Thursday morning when she fell into the water. She was on her way to Sangda, Sigas Rural Municipality-7, Baitadi from Girichowk, Aadarsha Rural Municipality-6, Doti to plant crops when she fell and got swept away. According to local Padam Khadayat, her body was found downstream, very far from the bridge.

There used to be a concrete bridge over the river but last October’s flood swept it away. The locals appealed to the local, provincial and federal governments many times to build a new one but they claim that their requests fell on deaf ears. So, they used the locally available resources and manpower to construct a small wooden bridge that Adhikari fell off of.

“The bridge is rickety and unstable,” Khadayat said. “But we have no choice but to use it. We have no choice but to risk our lives every day.”

There are not many motorable roads in Sigas which means there are no markets in the rural municipality. So, the people here have to go to Aadarsha Rural Municipality to buy groceries and daily goods which requires them to cross the Seti River.

“Others may dream of wealth and fortune. But we only dream of a simple bridge,” said another local Prem Bahadur Bohara. “We only dream of a life where we do not have to stare down death every time we cross Seti,” he added with tears in his eyes.

In addition to destroying the bridge, October’s flood had also washed away fields and houses.

The prime minister, home minister, chief minister, members of parliament and local level officials all came to visit and promised Sigas residents help and support; help and support that have not materialised yet, complained Lok Bahadur Chand. “Last year’s flood displaced 103 families and if the river floods this year too, we will have no village left,” he said.

Similarly, Chakra Bahadur Mahara said that the residents had high hopes from the newly-elected local government but they too have not shown any interest in their plight.

Source : TRN,