This fragile structure built with wooden logs across Kolleru lake at Parentalakanuma near Alapadu on the Krishna-West Godavari district borders acts as a time-tested bridge linking two national highways—Chennai-Kolkata National Highway-5 and Pamarru-Kattipudi National Highway-213 for over three decades. The proposal designed to build a concrete bridge for its replacement with Rs. 12 crore some two decades ago has failed to take off, thanks to the regulations of Kolleru wildlife sanctuary which prohibit permanent structures like bridges as part of preventing human interference with the eco-system in Kolleru.

As many as 20 villages falling under West Godavari and three hamlets under Kolletikota use the bridge for a stretch of 200 metres to access themselves to the Pamarru-Kattipudi National Highway by touching a cluster of villages en route in Krishna district.

Similarly, people from 20 villages in Krishna district on the other side use the wooden structure to join the Kolkata-Chennai National Highway at Gundukolanu in West Godavari district by passing through several villages in and around the lake.

According to Yerneni Nagendranath (Chitti Babu), Andhra Pradesh Drainage Board former Chairman, and a native of Kolleru area, it will be a round about covering a distance of 70 km by road for the travellers to reach the other side in the absence of the 200-meter length from Krishna district. Obviously, so also for the people from West Godavari district.

The wooden bridge witnesses a heavy rush during the month-long Peddintlamma temple festival at Kolletikota which ended a few days ago.

The structure turned out to be a major source of revenue generation for Alapadu gram panchayat. It has been auctioned for collection of toll fee from the users.

MLA's efforts

The users include both humans and animals such as cows, buffalos. Besides, rickshaws, kerosene barrels, oil cans, liquor cases, bicycles and motor cycles are also transported across the bridge for payment of fee which ranges from 50 paise to Rs. 10 depending on their weight.

TDP local MLA Jayamangala Venkataramana pitched for construction of a concrete bridge in place of the wooden structure by relaxing the wildlife regulations Union Minister of State for Forests and Environment Jairam Ramesh who also personally felt the problem by passing through the structure to reach Kolletikota during his recent visit.

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