The parapet of the small bridge across the Thirumanjanam canal on the Ammamandapam Road in Srirangam has become so low that it might prove a death trap for young children and old people.
According to residents, the more than 150-year-old canal came into being when there was a controversy over bringing water to Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple for the thirumanjanam (bathing) of the presiding deity. Originally, the parapet should have been around 3 ft high. Probably due to the raising of the road level, the parapet level has come down. Recently, when Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was about to visit the temple town, the small pedestrian pathway along the bridge got a facelift – literally and metaphorically. The pathway’s height went up by at least a foot resulting in the protection offered by the parapet. At present the parapet level is hardly 1.5 ft.
Residents are apprehensive that young children passing through the road might fall into the canal unless their parents are extremely careful. Especially, at nights when it is pitch dark and the unscheduled power cut is in place it is highly risky, they lament. This is a road used by a large number of pilgrims who walk up to the main temple after having their bath at the Ammamandapam ghat.
Till date water flow in the canal is not much. If more water is released from the Mettur dam, there would be substantial flow in the canal which will add to the risk, they add. According to official sources, the bridge comes under the control of PWD. Hence, it should raise the parapet by at least two feet to safeguard lives.