By Lokendra Joshi Darchula, July 4: A multi-purpose suspension bridge constructed in Duhu Rural Municipality in Darchula district is being developed as a tourist destination.
After the construction of the bridge, which connects wards 1, 2, and 5 of the municipality, the one-hour journey for the pedestrians has been shortened. The arrival of both local and foreign tourists to see the bridge is on the rise, said Birendra Raj Joshi, a local.
The number of people coming to see the bridge and taking photographs and videos is growing, said another local Junga Bahadur Bam.
If the government makes a needed effort, the bridge, second-longest multi-purpose suspension bridge constructed in Duhu, will have ample potential to be developed as a popular tourist destination, he said.
Chairman of the Rural Municipality Narendra Bahadur Singh Badal informed that the municipality was making various plans to develop the multi-purpose suspension bridge as a tourist destination.
Badal said that there is a plan to build attractive footpaths in the bridge area in the coming fiscal year. The goal is to develop adventure tourism including bungee jumping from the bridge.
The construction work of the bridge is yet to be completed. Information Technology Officer of the Rural Municipality Birendra Joshi said that about 10 per cent of the work on the bridge is still remaining.
The weight of the bridge could not be tested as the construction businessmen did not come in contact.
Chief Administrative Officer of the Rural Municipality Bhupendra Badal said that efforts were being made to complete the remaining works by bringing the contractor back as more than Rs. 5 million bail of the contractor is still in the municipality. As some construction work and capacity testing of the bridge are yet to be done, the handover work is also pending.
Tourists from India have started arriving to observe the multi-purpose suspension bridge on a daily basis.
Ashish Berma, an Indian citizen who came to see the bridge, said that the area has become very attractive and it is fun to observe the natural beauty from the bridge.
The 372-meter long and 190-metre tall bridge built over the Kalagad River connects Khara and Chhalegada within the Apinampa Conservation Area.
After a two-hour drive from Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula, people can reach the bridge.
It seems that the bridge constructed targeting internal and external tourists will take some time to complete. It is said that an attempt is being made to call the contractor even with the help of the administration.
Chairman Badal said, "After I was elected, I tried hard to contact the contractor but I failed to contact him." He said that efforts are being made to reach the contractor even by mobilising the security administration.
The multi-purpose suspension bridge has been constructed with the financial support of the Government of Nepal and Duhu Rural Municipality with the technical assistance of Trial Bridge Unit Kathmandu, Helvetas Nepal, and the Social Welfare Society. Altogether Rs. 21.7 million has been invested through the Rural Municipality.
The necessary infrastructure for bungee jumping has not been built yet. Hundreds of people used to come to the area to see the bridge, said local Prem Raj Joshi.
As it is the second-longest suspension bridge in the country and the longest one in the district, it is expected to become a tourist destination, but it needs infrastructure and publicity, Joshi said.
It is estimated that the number of tourists will increase to the village, after the completion of the bridge and the bungee jumping comes into operation.
Dev Bahadur Bam, ward chairman of Duhu Rural Municipality-3, said that trade and business would flourish and employment would be created when tourist arrivals increased in the bridge area.