Kannur: When most of the people blame government overbridges and roads under destruction, natives of Pandakkal set a new role by becoming responsible citizens. They repaired 40-year-old steel footbridge over Ponnyam river which connects Kathiroor panchayat and Pandakkal.
They have been repairing the bridge as an annual custom without seeking support from any government official. Over 60 people took part in the work on Sunday.
As part of the renovation, people set a small garden on the river bank. The bridge was closed for the work at 6 in the morning and it opened for pedestrians after the work at 5 in the evening.
Santhosh, Mohanan, Baiju, Kappally Chandran, Sajeevan, Vinu and Prakasan took leadership of the work.
The bridge over Ponnyam river was constructed by the public themselves. Earlier, it was a wooden bridge made of coconut tree. As the people got scared of the turbulent flow of river and whirlpool, they decided to build a safe bridge.
Hence, in 1980, Pandakkal natives formed a bridge committee and constructed the steel bridge. Though the contractor of the project Jayaraj Industries in Thalassery assured a life of 10 years, the bridge continues to remain stronger for the past 40 years.
The bridge survives without any issues due to the commitment of the public in performing repair works without delay. The 25-metre-long bridge is installed on rock pillars. The public themselves repaired the rock pillars too.
More than 10 people should not cross the bridge at a time. A warning board in this regard is placed on both sides. As the bridge is close to a bus shelter, natives of Ponnyam and Thayyilmukku can easily access bus to Thalassery, Mahe and Panoor.
Public complained that they approached the authority several times requesting to build a bridge which supports vehicular traffic. But it is not practical due to boundary issues.
One side of the bridge opens to Puducherry and the another side is in Kerala.
Construction of road connecting is not possible as there is no place to construct the road between Mahe and Pandakkal.