Locals relieved as ferry service across Sunkoshi resumes
MAHESHWOR CHAMLING RAI
KATARI (UDAYPUR), Oct 16: People from three remote hilly districts of Sagarmatha zone can now reach their villages more easily for Dashain festival this year.
With the long-stalled ferry service resuming on the Sunkoshi River early this week, people from Khotang, Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu districts are now able to reach places without having to change vehicles.
“It´s a big relief,” said Yubaraj Rai, an Okhaldhunga-based jeep operator. “Thousands of people can now go to villages more easily during the Dashain festival.”
The ferry service, which was initiated by the Road Division Office of Okhaldhunga at Ghurmi, had halted services since this year´s monsoon.
In the past years, local transport entrepreneurs, who benefited from the disruption of the ferry service, prevented the local administration from resuming the halted service before the Dashain festival.
However, the District Administration Office of Okhaldhunga succeeded in resuming the halted service this year before the beginning of the festival. “The water level in the river has yet not subsided,” said Surya Bahadur Khatri, Chief District Officer of Okhaldhunga district. “But, we decided to resume the service, keeping in view the hurdles that the locals have to bear while crossing the river.”
When the ferry, which carries vehicles across the Sunkoshi River, was not in operation, people heading for Khotang, Okhaldhunga and Solukhumba districts would have to get off vehicles at Ghurmi and walk for almost one hour to catch other vehicles across the river through a suspension bridge. Now, the passengers do not need to disembark from their vehicles at Ghurmi.
According to Khatri, as the water level in the river is yet not low, the ferry can carry only 15-18 tons at once.