Ropeways used by the local people of India and Nepal to cross the Mahakali River have recently been destroyed. After the ropeways were demolished by local administrative bodies of the two countries, the people living in the area have been facing difficulties crossing the river. It was suspected that these ropeways were aiding Maoists in their activities.
The ropeways located to the north of the district headquarter Khalanga were being used by local people, since many of them were working on the construction of a motorway alongside the bank of the Mahakali river on the Indian side.
On the Nepali side, the bank of the river is in a bad condition and there is only one trail to move from one place to another. As a result, the locals of the area were using ropeways to cross the river. When local administrative bodies demolished about two-dozen ropeways, the local people repaired them, so that their passage across the river was in place as usual.
After the state of emergency was imposed in the country, the people had already been deprived of using ropeways by security forces deployed on both sides of the river. The place where the ropeways cross the river is not an authorized boarder nor is it registered anywhere as such. However, it has been used for this purpose by the local people for a long time. Sitalpur, located to the upper part of Khalanga, is the only authorised border point. But it is not being used in the proper manner, since there is no Nepali administrative presence there.
The demolition of the ropeways has especially affected the Nepali people and those working in India are now unable to go there without it. Besides, Nepali farmers supposedly selling their home products, including vegetables, to the Indian market are also not able to reach there.
On the other hand, in order to bring ghee, fruits, vegetables and other home products to Khalanga via the long Nepali trail; Rs 25 has to be paid as a transportation cost. Locals of the rural area are, as a result, missing their main market produce. In addition, the communication link between the people of both sides has also been disconnected to some extent. It is reported that Nepalis living in the area have good relations with the people living in this part of India. â€œAlong with the demolition of the ropeways, we are deprived of meeting our relatives living on the Indian side,â€ Harka Budhathoki of Duling says. "Because of this, the route for the collection of grass and firewood has also been blocked."
On the other hand, the concerned government department has claimed that revenue has increased along with the demolition of the ropeways that create an unauthorised boarder. Wild herbs and other materials were reported to have been smuggled to India through this route.