Nepali Times
Nation
The corner people of Olangchungola


KRISHNA SINJALI in TAPLEJUNG


PICS: KRISHNA SINJALI
Jogem bridge

Map of Taplejung

A village near the north-eastern tip of Nepal was once on the busy and historical trade route with Tibet. Located at 3,100 m on the Tamur River, Olangchungola is named after the local inhabitants, the Walungs who were refugees from Tibet. Although most now have Nepali citizenship, they still retain a Tibetan way of life, speak their own language and have kin on the other side in China.

It takes a day's bus ride from Birtamod to Taplejung's district headquarter, and then a three-day trek to reach Olangchungola but the newly built airport 10 km east of Fungling will shave off an entire day. The road from Fungling to Tapethok and further up is under construction.

Other than the road and abandoned VDC buildings and a primary school, there is little here to suggest presence of the Nepali state. The once vibrant trading route is deserted. A nine member border police force is posted here, two days walk from the Reiyu post on the Tibet border which is often closed.

The primary school, which has 22 students opens for only four months because it is too cold for the teachers rest of the time. The locals have repeatedly asked the local administration to stock the health post with medicine and a doctor all year round. But nothing has materialised.

The 250 population of Olangchungola is scattered across seven VDCs and is made up mostly of farmers and traders. Half the population has left. Tibet is closer than the nearest market town in Nepal, and Chinese goods are cheaper than commodities in Nepal. But last September's earthquake damaged the Tamur trail, and Tibet is not accessible. Repairs are nowhere in sight. The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project volunteer Tashi Sherpa says the route to Olangchungola is so bad it is swept away every monsoon.

Neglected by the state and left with no choice, the 25 families still remaining in Olangchungola are also considering leaving the area for good. A local health assistant Pasang Kipa Sherpa told us they have requested the district administration to relocate the village to a safer place. She adds: "The area is too harsh for survival and there is no help from anywhere."

Green hills surrounding Olangchungola

An eldery man with photos of his children in the background, reminisces about family members who have moved out of the village

Trekking route to Gola

Rhododendrons blooming in the high himalayas

Gola villager with her Tibetan goat

Rocky road leading to Gola.

The only primary school in the village

View of Tamur river from Tapethok bridge.



1. Raju lama
Thanks to the P. reporter for highlighting the area away from the sight of the state. Hope to see much more in future so that the blind state may retain it's sight. do equal, be equal and have equal.



2. deepak subedi
photography is highly apreciated.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


ADVERTISEMENT









himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT