Bishaltar, North Nepal / 11 November, 2009
Photo: Hira, watching a load transported on the ropeway.
Photo: Hira watching a load transported on the ropeway.
Photo: Hira and the ropeway operator steady cage of produce at the bottom station.
"Life is good now. Not just for me but for many other farmers. I am saving time and money and can finally look forward to a more secure future for my family."
Hira is married with four children and lives high in the hills above the new gravity ropeway station in Bishaltar, Northern Nepal. He is particularly pleased with the difference that the ropeway is making because it was his community, in partnership with Practical Action, which constructed the ropeway in 2007.
Hira grows tomatoes on his plot, which is three hours walk from the roadside where traders come to buy produce. Before the gravity ropeway was constructed, Hira had to pay a porter to carry his tomatoes down the mountain-side at a cost of 100 rupees per load.
But Hira’s tomatoes didn’t used to command a very high value. He was also limited in the amount he could grow, not by the size of his plot, but because it just wasn’t cost effective to transport the goods down the mountainside. Providing for his family was a constant challenge for Hira.
Now, a much heavier load can be transported, using the ropeway, at a cost of just 15 rupees – seven times cheaper than hiring a porter. But it’s not just money that Hira is saving; that three hour journey has been cut to just two minutes. The tomatoes arrive fresh and undamaged and fewer porters have to travel down
Hira told me about the impact that the ropeway has been having on his community; "life is good now. Not just for me but for many other farmers. We couldn’t imagine how much of a difference this simple ropeway would make; I am saving time and money and can finally look forward to a more secure future for my family".
The whole community is benefiting from the gravity ropeway, being involved in the project from site selection through to construction and completion. They have now established a committee which represents the villagers using the ropeway, hired two staff members (one for the mountain top station and one for the roadside station) and mobilised over 50,000 rupees in savings (almost £430).
Case study collected by Helen Marsh 2008