Celebrating a decade of Goshree bridges

The Goshree bridges are an emotion for the people of Bolghatty-Mulavukadu, Vallarpadam and Vypeen islands, numbering roughly three lakh.— Photo: Vipin Chandran  

The trio of Goshree bridges will be 10 years old on June 5, a decade marked by sweeping changes for the city and its neighbouring islanders.

Then Chief Minister A. K. Antony, who inaugurated the bridge on that rain-soaked day, forecast that the bridges would change the fortunes of not just the islanders but the entire State and the country.

“The prediction has come true. Kochi now boasts of a big container terminal and an LNG terminal,” says Majnu Komath, who as the convenor of the now-disbanded Action Council for Vypeen-Ernakulam Bridges, fought a 25-year “battle” for the bridges.

The Action Council is remembered for its central role in a mammoth protest on August 22, 1989, in which the islanders bridged the Bolghatty-Ernakulam waters by using 400 traditional boats.

He called the bridges “an emotion” for the people of Bolghatty-Mulavukadu, Vallarpadam and Vypeen islands, numbering around 3 lakh.

The bridges were conceived by social reformer and minister in the erstwhile Kochi Assembly Sahodaran Ayyappan. The former State of Kochi had allotted Rs. 12 lakh for the Goshree bridges project before the Kochi-Travancore states merged. The money was later used to build the Thottappilly Spillway, says Mr. Komath.

He recalls that there was also a chance of the bridge becoming reality in the ’80s when it was linked to the NH 17 bypass project. But the hopes evaporated overnight, inspiring the formation of the Action Council on October 12, 1986.

The bridges project took firm shape after the formation of Goshree Islands Development Authority in 1994, which was initially named CIDA, after Cochin Islands Development Authority. The authority took a decision to reclaim 25 hectares of backwaters, the sale of which would fund the bridges project.

The sale of the reclaimed land fetched Rs. 340 crore of which less than Rs. 80 crore went into building the bridges. The rest of the money is being pumped into infrastructure projects in the area under GIDA jurisdiction.

The foundation for the bridges was laid on December 29, 2000. The works on the bridge were inaugurated on August 24, 2001.

Simon Mathew, who was GIDA Liaison Engineer and the project’s main trouble shooter throughout the project period says he is happy to have been part of an important project for the city of Kochi.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 11:45:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/celebrating-a-decade-of-goshree-bridges/article6081041.ece

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