Illegal miners weaken foundation of Indrawati bridge
INDRAWATI, March 29 : Passing through the 126-meter Indrawati bridge could shake your confidence. Cast a glance at the ongoing excavation of sand and aggregate at the foundations of the bridge and you get paranoid.
With the authorities concerned turning a blind eye to the illegal excavation along the Indrawati river, especially at the foundation of the bridge, the structure could collapse any moment, according to the residents of the nearby villages.
Constructed at Sipaghat section of the river, the bridge is one of the major links between Bhimtar village of Sindhupalchowk and Deupur VDC of Kavre district.
The bridge was constructed three years ago at a cost of Rs 40 million. According to the locals, 3 out of 5 foundations of the bridge are on the verge of collapse.
“How could the government be so carefree about the disaster in the making!” said a local.
The impact of excavation has largely affected two of the pillars on the side of Bhimtar village.
Up to three feet of earth has been removed at the very foundation of both the pillars, and river water has filled the gaps, making the structures even more vulnerable.
However, hundreds of locals cannot but continue to use the bridge to cross the river as they have no other choice.
“Whenever I pass through the bridge, I pray for our safety. Catastrophes strike when you are least prepared for it,” said Sitaram Shrestha, a local resident.
Though Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) standards forbid extraction of stone, sand and aggregate up to 1,000 meters from any bridge, illegally operating crusher and other construction businesses are openly floating the rule.
Most of the ongoing excavation activities along the Indrwati river are being operated by Melamchi Indrawati Pvt Ltd, a crusher company.
“It is frightening to watch them use heavy machineries and scores of laborers to openly extract stone and sand under the bridge,” said a local.