Gulmit, June 25: The strongly flowing Khuzhrav River has eroded the sand and the rusted iron ropes holding the Gulmit Suspension Bridge, or what remains of it, are partially visible. Before March 2010, hundreds of men, women and children crossed this suspension bridge every day to either travel to Shishkat through a dangerous track, or to reach Goharabad, an unpopulated settlement on at the toe of the great Puplul Mountain. No more.
The suspension bridge was constructed in the mid 70s, with the help of iron ropes and strcutures left behind by the Chinese workers and engineers who, along with the Jawans of FWO, were camping in this area during the consruction of the Karakuram Highway.
The suspension bridge was more than 1 kilometers wide, spanning the entire breadth of the river at a relatively vast area.
“The bridge may not come out for many more years”, said Saeed, a local resident. “But even if it resurfaces completely, it will be dangerous to use it. Look at the rusted iron”, he emphasized, pointing at the bridge.
The Gulmit Suspension Bridge, which in its good days also used to be a tourism attraction, had been caused to submerge in the mid of May 2010, five months after the blockade of the river near Attabad village, 15 kilometeres downstream.
So far, an alternate bridge has not been constructed in the area, resulting in heavy losses for the farmers who used to bring dry shrub and fallen trees for burning and grass for their cattle.