A boat has been kept on standby by the Forest Department near Lingapuram in Coimbatore, as the only road connecting four tribal hamlets in Sirumugai forest range to the outside world was cut off after a 25-metre bridge across River Kandyar submerged in water.
River Kandyar, which originates from lower Kotagiri, swelled following outflow from Bhavani Sagar’s water spread in Sirumugai. Water has been flowing over the bridge for the last several days .
“On Saturday, water was flowing at least three foot over the bridge. Residents of the tribal hamlets are now using an alternative route through jungle, which was cleared and opened after a gap of 10 years. The boat is kept on standby for emergency purposes,” said E.N. Manoharan, Forest Range Officer, Sirumugai.
Around 300 Backward Class families are living in Kandavayal, Alurvayal, Mokkainmedu, and Uliyur hamlets near Sirumugai. Farmers from the hamlets are affected most as they are unable to take their agricultural produces to markets as the bridge came under water.
Children from the hamlets, who are studying in schools at Lingapuram and other places, are also bearing the brunt. Though two elementary level schools, including one run by Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department, are situated at Kandavayal, they teach students only up to fourth standard.
In order to avoid the route through jungle, some people are using coracles along the bridge to cross the river using bridge railings as support.
Mr. Manoharan said that the boat would also be used for field inspections by the Forest Department in the water spread of Bhavani Sagar reservoir coming under Sirumugai forest range, till the water level recedes.
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