11 mules stuck on suspension bridge rescued, two die

Achham, June 10: Eleven mules trapped when an iron rope of the suspension bridge connecting ward-9 of Panchdewal Binayak Municipality in Kalekada, Achham to Ward 4 of Aathbis Municipality in Dailekh snapped, were rescued alive. During the rescue operation, two mules died.

Jeevan Rokamagar, Nabin Rokamagar and Rajendra Bohara were taking 13 mules to Dailekh’s Khidkijyula from Kalekada, Achham, to fetch food supplies. 

The mules were trapped when one side of the old suspension bridge’s rope broke. The two dead mules belonged to Jeevan Rokamagar.

The authorities of Achham and Dailekh rescued the mules within four hours. 

Chief District Officer Shiva Prasad Lamsal personally arrived at the site to assist in the rescue operation. Teams from the Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and Police from both districts successfully conducted the joint rescue operation.

“The bridge tilted when the rope broke. The bridge is now at further risk and needs to be closed,” said Achham Police Chief, DSP Santosh Pathak, who was present at the site. “The bridge must be closed for now,” he said. 

The closure of the bridge has caused difficulties for students from Achham’s Chandika Secondary School who commute to Dailekh for their studies. 

They now have to cross the Karnali River using boats. Students travelling from Achham to Rakam Karnali in Dailekh also face difficulties due to the bridge closure. 

On Sunday evening, children returning home from school had to risk crossing the river by boat. Some teachers of Chandika Secondary School, who also reside in Dailekh, are facing challenges going to school.

Over 70 students travel daily from Dailekh to Chandika Secondary School. Bharat Saud, a local, mentioned that the Khidkijyula market in Dailekh is the only market for residents of Ward 9 of Panchdewal Binayak Municipality, making it difficult for them to purchase essential items.

The people of Kalekada are not just grappling with a broken bridge, but a disruption in their daily lives and food supply. Locals say they will have difficulties obtaining food and other essentials until the bridge is repaired. With the upper areas of Kalekada lacking road access, mules are the primary mode of transportation.

The bridge, constructed in 2001, has become dilapidated due to a lack of maintenance. Government authorities are unaware of when the repair work will commence. Ward Chairman, Ram Prasad Jaisi of Panchdewal Binayak Municipality-9 said that discussions with the municipal head regarding the reconstruction of the bridge are ongoing.

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