Local Road Substitutes a Risky Cable-Stayed Cradle over Kokcha River

Hassan Bigi, a small village consisted of 28 families is located alongside the Kokcha River in Shahr-e-Buzurg district of Badakhshan province and some 50 km away from the district center. Most of the villagers here carry out farming activities and earn their living from agriculture sector.

The stormy and turbulent river has taken the lives of many villagers over the past years. The residents had to use a preliminary handmade and risky cable-stayed cradle over the river that connected the community with the main road. The cable cradle always posed potential threat to the lives of the villagers, particularly the children and women.

Following the formation of a Community Development Council (CDC) through the Citizens’ Charter National Priority Program of the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD/CCNPP), the members came together and gave top priority for building a much-needed local road to find a permanent solution to their transportation difficulties.

The villagers told us some sad stories of the past that illustrated a concerning situation. “We could come by vehicles only up to Barlas bridge and then had to cross around 2.5 km distance to reach our village by feet. We used to transport our commodities by donkeys and mules, crossing the river by the cable-stayed cradle.” Said Satar, Head of the CDC.

Satar thanks MRRD/CCNPP and says that after the completion of this road construction project, any types of vehicles such as trucks, tractors, cars, etc. can easily come to our village. “Without delays, now we can take both our dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, etc. and agricultural products like fruit and vegetables to the markets in Kisham, Faizabad and Takhar”, says Abdul Satar.

Muhammad Ghaib, a CDC member reminded the story of a child who lost his life while he was trying to cross the river. “An 11-year-old child fell down the cable-stayed cradle into the river while he was going to school two years ago. We could manage to find his body into the water four kilometers away from the cradle almost until midnight.” Residents also say that women, children and the elders had to wait for hours to find young boys with strong arms who can bring them inside the village from across the river by pulling the cradle cables hard.

As per the local residents, the construction of the road has helped villagers experience great increase in their economic condition. The 2.5-kilometer road which was planned by Hassan Bigi CDC is now constructed with financial support of MRRD/CCNPP that has connected the village directly with Badakhshan – Takhar Highway.

It is worth mentioning that construction of this road project has also created employment opportunities for around 40 villagers for a period of two months during this local road project implementation.