7 years on, still no word on new bridge in Madakkal
Thrikaripur (Kasaragod): It has been 7 years after the collapse of the newly-constructed suspension bridge, after two months of inauguration, in Madakkal across the Kavvayi backwaters. However, the proposed replacement bridge is yet to be constructed here.
The suspension bridge, connecting coastal region of Thrikaripur in Valiyaparamaba with mainland Madakkal, which was built at an estimated Rs 3.94 crore collapsed barely two months after it was thrown open for the public.
It was on April 28, 2013 then Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash who inaugurated the bridge. On June 27, 2013 the bridge collapsed after one of the concrete column of 29m high crumbled.
The construction of the bridge was undertaken by Kerala Electrical and Allied Engineering Co Ltd (KEL). They had subcontracted the construction works. The bridge was built here after government instruction that suspension bridges to be setup at boat jetties used by students after many of them lost lives in boat accidents.
Two suspension bridges allowed in Kasaragod district were at Valiyaparamba. Other bridge project at Thekkekkad was dropped midway, after Madakkal bridge collapsed.
The locals were again forced to depend on boats and canoes.
The concrete debris, which posed hindrance to boating and fishing, was removed from the backwater after many complaints. However, some are still left here.
A Vigilance probe was conducted to the bridge collapse and it was found the use of substandard materials and low-standard construction led to the accident. Though legal action was recommended against the responsible persons, no action has been taken yet.
The construction company had first offered to reconstruct the bridge in six months, but as the probe went on, they withdrew from it.
Later, after many protests and discussions, Rs 15 lakh was approved by M Rajagopalan MLA for boat service. Though CUSAT was instructed to design a boat suitable for the structure of Kavvayi backwaters, it has been two years since then and no boat reached here.
At present, a canoe fitted with engine, bought with Rs 1 lakh collected by the natives conduct service here.
Large complaints arise from here alleging avoidance from the government. Many demanded concrete bridge to be constructed here.
MV Sarojini, panchayat vice president said that a concrete bridge is the necessity here.
VT Shahul Hameed of Muslim League said that they have approached Human Rights Commission after the bridge collapsed. He said earlier the commission had ordered for a new bridge to be constructed here on war-footing and KEL authorities were ready to build an iron bridge. However, government didn’t approve the required Rs 3 crore and hence they again approached the commission.