Bridge across Chaliyar at Munderi soon

A view of the devastation wreaked by the floods of 2019 at Munderi, near Nilambur, in Malappuram district.   | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

The district administration has set the ball rolling for reconstruction of one of the bridges across the river Chaliyar at Munderi near Nilambur connecting five tribal hamlets with the outside world.

The hamlets of Iruttukuthi, Vaniyampuzha, Thandankallu, Tharippapotti, and Kumbalappara have been marooned since the floods of 2019 washed away the three bridges to reach them.

A team of government officials led by District Collector V.R. Premkumar visited Vaniyampuzha and held a meeting with the tribespeople on Thursday. Mr. Premkumar asked the Public Works Department (PWD) engineers to conduct a speedy inspection and to prepare an estimate for a three-metre-wide bridge across the river.

“We have asked the PWD to process it quickly, considering the urgency of the matter,” Mr. Premkumar told The Hindu.

The pathetic condition of the tribal families living in a jungle cut off from the mainland was featured several times in these columns. “We will try to address the issue as best as we can. We will push it as much as we can,” said Mr. Premkumar.

Although the process for construction of a bridge within the forest limits will be long, the Collector said that it would be expedited.

The PWD will have to do an investigation, including soil testing, before preparing a design and an estimate. Then, the government will have to sanction the funds. “We will make it fast, especially after

the Forest department gave its consent for a three-metre bridge,” he said.

Apart from the Collector and Sub Collector, Nilambur North Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) K.J. Martin Lowel, Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) senior officials, engineers of the PWD and KSEB were present at the meeting.

KSEB engineers promised the district administration that re-installation of the power lines would be completed within a month.

The roads and the power lines along the Munderi side of the river had been destroyed in the floods that devastated the region in August 2019. The tribespeople were depending on bamboo rafts to reach the mainland since the floods washed away all the three bridges connecting the hamlets with Munderi. A hanging bridge constructed with the funds raised by former District Collector Jaffar Malik and his colleagues at the collectorate in 2019 did not last beyond the next monsoon.

“We also discussed other problems faced by the people here. Arrangements will be made soon to get all the educated persons registered at the PSC facilitation centre, so that we can ensure government jobs for them,” said Mr. Premkumar.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 2:57:56 PM |

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