Saturday, 9 December, 2023

Surya Adhikari’s wheelchair helps him through potholes, rivers with no bridge


By Netra Shahi, Jumla, Aug 20: A wheelchair is all that Surya Adhikari has to go from one place to another. A resident of Ward 6 of Hima Gaunpalika in Jumla, both legs of Adhikari do not work as he has suffered from polio since birth.

Adhikari works at the civil registration department of Hima Gaunpalika and has to travel to the district headquarters at least once a week for administrative purpose. And he travels the nine kilometers journey to the headquarters and nine kilometers back to Hima in his wheelchair.

Most public vehicles deny Adhikari getting on their vehicles citing it is a difficult work to board, seat, and drop him with his wheelchair. With no option left, Adhikari covers the road on the wheelchair, although the journey disappoints him. With the lockdown imposed, Adhikari now lacks any chance of getting a bus.

On Friday, Adhikari was on his way to the headquarters but the travel was obstructed as the water level in the Mahabaipathar River at the border of Jumla and Kalikot districts; even the motorcycles were facing trouble crossing the river.

Being halfway to the headquarters, Adhikari had no option but to cross the river in the wheelchair by taking the risk because the river had no bridge. 

“The level of water in the river had increased but since there was no bridge, I had to take the risk. It was a close encounter,” said Adhikari, recalling the days of being stuck in the mud and the difficulties due to the potholes across the road in the rainy season.

One day, Adhikari walked 41 kilometres in his wheelchair while he had to reach the district headquarters. “It was not a great day,” said Adhikari.

Every time Adhikari has to travel in his wheelchair, he is dissatisfied with the lack of proper infrastructure, and even physically abled people face enough trouble down the road.

The company contracted to gravel the road from Nagma to Hima Gaunpalika did not complete its work even this year and the shortage of pressurising authorities in public has caused a delay in constructing necessary infrastructures in the area. As a result, people like Adhikari have to face difficulties during their trip.

“There are no proper roads and bridges for safe and easier travel. Every trip is full of trouble,” said Ram Krishna Neupane, another local of the area, who is also physically disabled.

Meanwhile, the local authorities have different reasons to back from their responsibility of constructing necessary infrastructure for the locals.

“The difficulties have been consistent but the authorities have been irresponsible in mitigating it. I wonder when there will be good road access here,” said Adhikari.