Hydel puts bridge at risk

Phidim, July 12

A motorable bridge over the Kabeli River that connects Yangbarak of Panchthar and Sirijungha of Taplejung is at high risk of collapse due to negligence on part of Kabeli B1 Hydro Power Project developers.

The bridge became fraught with risk after the hydel project expanded pipeline from its headworks site via the bridge. As per the law, infrastructure should not be developed near any bridge, but the developers have dug a big ditch near the foundation of the bridge, posing the risk of the bridge collapse.

Eastern Road Division Office, Ilam, had constructed the bridge for Rs 90 million seven years ago. The bridge has eased vehicular and people’s movement between rural municipalities of Panchthar and Taplejung. However, the division office has yet to pay heed to ensure the safety of the bridge.

On the contrary, civil hydro power engineer of Kabeli B1 Madahav Bhurtel claimed the bridge was unaffected by the infrastructure of the project. “We have developed the infrastructure in such a way that it supports and consolidates the bridge,” Bhurtel said.