Kathmandu, April 1:

Thousands of people in and around the Benighat area of Dhading district use a gravity ropeway to transport their produce to the market, which is located at an altitude of 1,400 metres.

Prior to the installation of the gravity ropeway, the locals had to hire porters, paying each of them Rs 75 and two meals a day, to carry their goods to the market, an hour-long trek. Now that the gravity ropeway has been installed from Bishalghat to Janagau in Dhading district, it costs between Rs 5 and Rs 10 - and negligible time - to carry loads ranging from 10 to 75 kg. The ropeway was installed with the help of Practical Action Nepal (PAN). Terming the ropeway a boon for the locals, Kumar Ghale of Benighat VDC-6, Dhading, said the locals have been benefiting a lot from it.

“We have requested the experts to improvise it so that people can also be ferried in it,” he said, adding that the government and donors should help the people living in the remote areas install such ropeways.

Ghale was one of the representatives of the consumers’ groups speaking at a meeting on the Rural Transport Programme organised by the PAN here recently. Tuins (traditional ropeways), installed in remote parts of the country, also ferry people and goods. Some 13 tuins installed by the PAN in six districts have been helping reduce poverty among locals.

According to Pratap Gurung of the NGO Network Tanahun, the three tuins installed at Chepeghat, Parsyandi and Yampaphant of the district have helped thousands of people transport their agricultural products to the market and motivated people to cultivate cash crops.

Noting that the ropeway of Bhattedanda had been awarded for making a significant contribution to the people, director-general of the Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural Roads (DoLIDAR) Sohan Sundar Shrestha said the department is considering to install 5-6 km cable cars or ropeways in different parts of the nation that are not connected by roads. “Gravity ropeways have been effective and should be installed in different parts of the country,” he said.

Mechanical engineer of the PAN Mahendra Bijukchhe said improved tuins with three wires and eight pulleys, instead of one wire and two pulleys, have been popular and found to be safer.

Team leader of the PAN Jun Hada said improving accessibility in the hills is the major challenge for development, which has not been addressed.