With no help from authorities, residents rebuild foot-overbridge across Nethravati

Work under way on a makeshift foot-overbridge from Pavoor-Uliya Kudru to the mainland near Mangaluru.   | Photo Credit: H.S. Manjunath

With the administrative machinery going into mute mode, the residents of Pavoor-Uliya Kudru (river island) in the middle of the Nethravati, about 10 km off Mangaluru, have again been rebuilding a 750-ft foot-overbridge for a week now.

About 40 families decided to build a makeshift bridge made of steel scaffolding with the help of the local parish for a couple of years to reach the mainland soon after the monsoon season. During monsoon, they have no option but to dismantle the bridge and cross the river in spate using boats.

With a majority of the residents depending upon employment opportunities outside the island and having meagre resources, they are forced to source funds from well-wishers. They spent about ₹18 lakh initially last year to procure steel fabrication and are spending nearly ₹3 lakh on wooden planks and labour, said the parish priest of Infant Jesus Chapel, Capt. Gerald Lobo, who is guiding the construction. He added that there has been no financial support from the local administration.

Youngsters visited nearby churches to collect funds. A major part of the expenditure is towards labour even though the residents themselves are helping out extensively. The river bed is 20 ft deep at some places because of excessive mining, and this poses a challenge for bridge construction.

Vandals from the sand mafia damaged a portion of the bridge in January this year as revenge against the residents’ protesting indiscriminate sand extraction. However, the spirited residents rebuilt the bridge soon after with help coming from the area MLA, U.T. Khader.

For every daily need, right from education to healthcare, the residents have to come to the mainland at Adyar on NH 75.

Capt. Lobo told The Hindu that the residents have been demanding a permanent solution in the form of a concrete bridge. His plea to the Prime Minister reached the State government, and the PWD sent a proposal on a ₹5-crore project to the government. However, things have not moved since, he said.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 9:35:53 AM |

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