Kalimpong, Oct. 18: A bridge coming up over the Kakuley jhora (stream) is expected to directly connect a cluster of villages under Sangsey gram panchayat to Kalimpong town and reduce travel time by half.
Organic vegetables and spices grown in the villages can now be brought straight to markets here, rather than being taken to the haat in Malli on the Kalimpong-Sikkim border.
The 20/12 RCC structure is being constructed by the villagers themselves with help from World Vision, an NGO, which has so far spent about Rs 10.5 lakh on it. A kutcha approach road to the bridge has also been built from Khadka village to Bimbong. “The villagers provided bamboo and wooden planks for the structure and free labour,” said Uttam Karthak, programme coordinator of World Vision.
The bridge is tentatively scheduled to open on November 3. “It will also enable our children to attend schools in Kalimpong from home,” said Joseph Lepcha, secretary of a development organisation active in the area.
The distance to the town via the new bridge will be 8-10 km, shorter than the present route with the detour through Deorali. “As more than half the distance to Deorali has to be covered on foot, it takes one-and-half hours to reach Kalimpong now, said Lepcha. “But with the bridge and the kutcha road, it will take no more than 45 minutes.”