Temporary bridge built by islanders damaged

The temporary bridge, built by the residents of Pavoor Uliya, damaged by miscreants.

The joy of using the temporary bridge built to reach Pavoor Uliya was short-lived for the local residents as miscreants have damaged the bridge early Saturday.

The local residents have suspected the handiwork of the sand mafia in damaging the bridge.

The miscreants have damaged not only the bridge but also an auto rickshaw and six two-wheelers that were parked by the residents on the riverside.

The residents said that the officials of the Mines and Geology Department and others using a boat given to the residents by the government had raided the illegal sand mining unit recently. Suspecting the handiwork of the village residents in the raid, the illegal sand miners would have damaged the bridge, they expressed suspicion.

Only boats

In the absence of surface transport, boats were the only mode of transport, ferrying people across the river. When the river is in spate during the monsoon, the residents of Pavoor Uliya had a difficult time crossing the river to reach the main road. The village has 40 families with a majority of the residents eking out a living through inland fishing and farming.

Although the Malnad Area Development Board had sanctioned a hanging bridge at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore to Pavoor Uliya way back in 2012, the bridge had not materialised due to technical problems. Recently, the residents had raised donation and constructed a temporary bridge at a cost of Rs 18 lakh. The 800-metre long lock system bridge was constructed using iron rods, wooden tow paths. The bridge could be dismantled at any time. The four-foot-wide bridge had no access to vehicles.

Rev Fr Jerald Lobo, priest at the Infant Jesus Church, said that around 50 wooden planks used for a tow path of the bridge has been removed by the miscreants.

Injury to miscreants

In fact, the miscreants who damaged the autorickshaw too are expected to have been injured, as blood stains were found nearby.

“As the bridge was built by raising funds from donors, it was decided to collect Rs 10 a day from those who use the bridge. The money collection box that had been placed near the bridge too has been damaged by the miscreants,” said Fr Lobo, adding, “The incident must have happened after around 12.30 am on Saturday.”

District In-charge Minister U T Khader, who visited the spot, condemned the damage to the temporary as well as the vehicles parked on the riverside.

Pavoor Uliya, incidentally, comes under Mangaluru Assembly constituency, which is represented by Khader.

Khader said that the City Police Commissioner T R Suresh has been asked to constitute a special team to arrest the miscreants. The police have also been asked to install CCTV cameras near the bridge and the riverside where the residents park their vehicles and the autorickshaws, before heading home using the temporary bridge.

‘Repair bridge’

Khader has also directed the Mangaluru Taluk Panchayat President Mohammed Monu to get the bridge repaired.

A meeting of the DC, the elected representatives and the residents of Pavoor Uliya will be convened on Sunday, said the minister.

He said that a proposal has already been submitted to the state government to construct a full-fledged bridge across the river. After the release of funds, the bridge will be constructed, he added.

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