Mana's gravity goods ropeway

Suchana Mijar is 20 and lives in the village of Mana, in the far west of Nepal.  She and her husband Janga have a 9 month old daughter, Sonisa. The family grow rice, beans, potatoes, maize and millet.  Janga works in India as a labourer to supplement the family income. Now, with the help of Practical Action's BICAS project they are trying out some new crops and are delighted with the new gravity goods ropeway.  

When Suchana was pregnant with Sonisa, Janga was away most of the time so Suchana had to carry the heavy loads up and down the trail. Early in her pregnancy she was carrying a load of grass when she slipped and fell around 25 metres breaking her shoulder. She had to go to India for treatment and was there with Janga for almost six months.

“During my early pregnancy I used to have to carry heavy loads because my husband was away. I was always worried about losing my baby because of the strain on my body." she told us. 

“Whenever my husband was back from India he helped with all the carrying to and from the market, but when he was away it was down to me."

When Suchana returned to the village she went into labour and was carried down the hill by the midwife and some helpers in a basket. But before arriving at the medical centre at the bottom she gave birth on the trail. Fortunately her baby was unharmed and healthy.

“I was carrying 30 to 40 kgs and the trail condition was very poor. About once a month I was carrying maize or something down to sell. I was carrying things up three or four times a month. My stomach and back used to hurt and I was always worried I was going to faint and slip. I was very scared.

“On the day I gave birth I was suffering greatly. I was crying all the time and in great pain. Some young boys were carrying me down the trail to try and reach the hospital. I thought I was going to die and I knew it was very possible."

Suchana is delighted that her village now has its own gravity goods ropeway.

“I was very happy when I saw the ropeway working because now we won’t ever need to carry heavy loads to and from the market again. Just thinking about the past year makes me appreciate the difference. The chance of injury or death is much lower now.” 

“I feel happy that nobody else will have to carry those heavy loads up and down the trail. Sonisa will not have to carry a heavy load like her mother or grandmother and I will have more time so I will be able to look after her better."

“We now are starting to grow more vegetables – bitter gourd, pumpkins and tomatoes so we can eat more variety. I believe my daughter will have a healthier future. Maybe in the future we can sell more. I want to educate my children better than the level I got to so they can get good jobs."

Facts and figures

  • The ropeway travels from Tipara Bazar at the bottom to Mana village at the top
  • Mana has 240 households and a population of around 1,000.  It is a 15 minute walk to the ropeway station
  • Tipara Bazar has a collection of shops and places selling food
  • The maximum load is 90kg (down) and 40kg (up)
  • Current transport time is 1.5 minutes from bottom to top - the previous transport time with a load was 3 hours
  • In the previous year three people died on the journey, a 50 year old woman and two men in their early forties
  • The ropeway employs two people, a caretaker at the top and at the bottom
  • The cost of the installation was $24,700.  The community contributed $7,300 through their labour, laying cables and collecting locally available materials
  • 339 people were involved in the construction
  • It costs 2 rupees per kg to go up, 1 rupee per kg to go down and the average daily load is 270 kg
  • It is managed by a committee of 11 local members, which meets once a month
  • It is designed to be earthquake resistant up to 7 on the Richter scale and so that flood water will flow around the ropeway stations
no comments