KSHRC wants ATR on bridge at Karike

KSHRC wants ATR on bridge at Karike

A file photo of the bridge connecting Alattikadavu and Doddacheri village in Karike Gram Panchayat.

The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) has taken the Kodagu district administration to task for dilly-dallying over the construction of the bridge in Karike Gram Panchayat limits in the taluk.

The district administration has invited the wrath of the Bengaluru-based Commission for failing to submit an action taken report (ATR) on the construction of a permanent bridge at Karike.

The KSHRC, in its ‘reminder notice’ issued to the Kodagu Deputy Commissioner, has extended the deadline to submit the ATR to February 19. Fearing judicial proceedings by the Commission, the district administration has swung into action.

The Karike Gram Panchayat President Balachandra Nair told DH that a team of surveyors from the Zilla Panchayat and Public Works Department (PWD) has visited the spot. “An estimate for construction of a permanent bridge connecting Alattikadavu and Doddacheri villages at a total cost of Rs 75 lakh was submitted to the deputy commissioner,” he said.

Old bridge

Earlier, the two villages had been connected by a dilapidated hanging bridge constructed by the villagers themselves. The bridge across River Chandragiri was used by 15 children of 60 families.

“We had presented many memoranda to the Zilla Panchayat and the district administration to replace the hanging bridge – described as ‘Pala’ by local residents – with a permanent bridge, keeping the interest of the school-going children in mind,” Nair said.

Their demands fell on deaf ears as development proved a mirage in the village, which is located 25 km away from Bhagamandala, the residents added.

The prediction of the villagers about the problems due to the dilapidated bridge came true when the bridge was washed away in the recent floods. The children were the worst affected as they had to walk an additional 6 km to reach school.

Additional 12-km walk

Adarsh G K, general secretary of the Bengaluru-based Human Rights Defenders Forum, who read in newspapers about the hardships faced due to a lack of a bridge filed a case with the KSHRC.

“Realisation that a bridge would prevent children from walking nearly 12 km extra every day prompted me to file the complaint,” Adarsh told DH.

The district administration initially had ignored the notices from the KSHRC. When the Commission threatened to initiate judicial proceedings under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, however, the deputy commissioner was forced to submit an interim report in October 2018.