Villagers build makeshift bridge to cross river

Timely solution

Residents of Pavoor-Uliya cross River Nethravathi through a boat.

After monsoon, residents of Pavooru-Uliya, an island with a population of over 400 people located near Adyar on the city's outskirts, have built a temporary bridge only to dismantle it before the onset of monsoon.

This build and dismantle ritual is being repeated since two decades.  River Nethravathi  separates Pavoor-Uliya from the mainland. IT also separates the island from Pavoor and Harekala villages. Adyar is the nearest accessible village via boats, connecting Mangaluru and nearby places. 

Lack of connectivity is a major challenge for families residing on this land. The demands for a proper bridge and roads have been falling on deaf ears since many years. At present, country boats are the only mode of transport ferrying people to the mainland and from mainland back to the island.

The employed and children, in particular, depend on the boats. Many constraints, including repeated rides on the boats,  have prompted the residents to construct a make-shift bridge themselves over two decades ago. The wooden poles for the bridge were replaced recently with iron poles to make the bridge sturdy and stable.

“This time, we have built a 800-metre long and four-foot wide footbridge”, said Daniel Ferrao, a resident. The total cost for the bridge was over Rs 20 lakh. “The guidance was provided by Fr Jerald Lobo, serving as the priest of Infant Jesus Church in Pavoor Uliya."

"We constructed the bridge with help of volunteers as the labour cost will be an additional burden. Every year after the monsoon, people are forced to install new iron poles of increased heights as the river's depth is increasing due to excessive sand mining," he said.

Excess sand extraction also had contributed to dwindling of fish quantity and increased salinity in water, the residents charged. They distill the same water for drinking. There is no scope for agriculture as the water is saline. Thus, the residents are forced work as daily wagers in the city for livelihood.

Another villager said they still use the boats to shift the sick and pregnant women even after the temporary bridge. Many, however, have breathed their last while on way hospital”, she said and urged the district administration to sanction a permanent bridge this year.

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