Ullal, Feb 20, 2018: A small hanging foot bridge on river Nethravathi that provides connectivity to Ullal Hoige, situated on the banks of river Nethravathi, is in immediate need of repair.
The pillars of the bridge have rusted and are posing dangers to those who use the bridge. Although efforts were made to repair the footbridge in the past, a permanent footbridge remains a mirage for the residents.
The hanging footbridge, which is about 100 metres, connects the Nethravathi bridge to Ullal Hoige, with a backwater flow. The Ullal Hoige residents, including schoolchildren, have been using this bridge.
A serious hazard : The work on repairing the footbridge was taken up one year ago. However, the pillars have become weak again. There are no railings to hold while walking on the bridge. Even the sheets used for the bridge are broken and one needs to walk with utmost care as there is possibility of legs getting caught between the broken sheets.
A majority of the residents of Ullal Hoige are farmers and the vegetables cultivated by them are supplied to markets in Mangaluru. Although Ullal Hoige is connected to the main road through Thokkottu Olapete, the route is more than 10 km from Mangaluru and the farmers are forced to hire auto rickshaws to reach Ullal Hoige. They are, therefore, forced to take the old bridge to carry the loads of vegetables.
Ullal Hoige Abhivridhi Samithi secretary Domnic D’Souza said, “We have been appealing to the elected representatives to repair the hanging footbridge. The Ullal Hoige area comes partly under the Mangaluru City Corporation and partly under the Ullal City Municipal Council.”
Sundar Uliya, Ullal City Municipal Council member, said “There is a need for a permanent bridge to reach Ullal Hoige. The repair of the present bridge does not last long.”
Funds Crunch : According to MLA J R Lobo, the Coastal Development Authority had sanctioned Rs 35 lakh for construction of a permanent footbridge. “More funds cannot be released for a footbridge, but, according to an estimate of the engineers, a minor footbridge cannot be built with Rs 35 lakh. The pillars for the footbridge have to be rebuilt by drilling deep into the river. As a result, crores of rupees is needed to rebuild the bridge,” he added.
“Further, a hanging bridge in the coastal region, where salt water content is high, needs annual maintenance. The government does not release grants for it,” Lobo explained. The MLA, however, said he would look into the possibility of getting additional funds to take up the work.