Kerala

Marooned Munderi tribal hamlets to be bridged soon

Tribespeople crossing the Chaliyar river on a bamboo raft at Munderi.

Tribespeople crossing the Chaliyar river on a bamboo raft at Munderi. | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

The State government has decided to construct a 5.5-metre-wide concrete bridge across the Chaliyar river at Munderi to reconnect the Iruttukuthi, Tharippapotti, Vaniyampuzha, and Kumbalappara tribal hamlets with the mainland.

As many as 105 tribal families spread in the four hamlets were living in isolation since the bridges connecting those hamlets were washed away in the floods of 2018. And in the floods of 2019, a hanging bridge constructed with the funds raised by the District Collector and his team of revenue officials was destroyed.

The delay in the reconstruction of the bridge across the Chaliyar river at Munderi had evoked criticism from several quarters. The State Human Rights Commission made an intervention in recent weeks, and sought a report from the ST Development Department about the progress of the bridge.

The Public Works Department (PWD) and the Forest Department jointly examined the site, and it was decided to construct a 5.5-metre-wide bridge instead of a three-metre-wide bridge as proposed earlier. Vehicles can ply on the new bridge.

The Forest department has agreed to give its land for construction of the bridge. PWD officials told a District Development Council meeting that a design for the bridge was being prepared.

The lack of transport connectivity with the mainland had forced the 400-odd tribespeople living in the forest fringes across the Chaliyar to depend on bamboo rafts to cross the river. The rafts are risky when the river swells in monsoon. The school-going children from the hamlets risk their lives every day while crossing the river on the raft.

When the monsoon gains strength, the children may stop going to school. “We don’t want to take the risk of crossing the river on the raft when water in the river rises,” said K.V. Sudha, a parent-volunteer responsible for taking the children to school.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 10:12:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/marooned-munderi-tribal-hamlets-to-be-bridged-soon/article65573491.ece