It remained submerged in the backwaters from the coffer bund at Adyar-Harekala for over a week
The footbridge that people got erected soon after every monsoon to connect Pavoor-Uliya Kudru (river island) in the Netravathi with the mainland at Adyar on National Highway 75 was submerged for a larger public cause — construction of the Adyar-Harekala vented dam-cum-bridge to provide drinking water to areas in Mangaluru Assembly Constituency.
With the footbridge remaining under the backwater of the coffer bund built for constructing the dam about a kilometre downstream from the Kudru for over a week, the residents, under the leadership of Infant Jesus Church Parish Priest Fr. Jerald Lobo, dismantled the footbridge on Thursday.
Shivappa, who was seen rowing a boat from the Kudru to the mainland on Friday, told The Hindu that it was back to square one for the residents of the island as the footbridge was found to be no longer sustainable. A percussion artist rendering service during Daivaaradhane, Mr. Shivappa’s is the lone Hindu family on the Kudru while the remaining 30 are Catholic Christians.
Fr. Lobo has been instrumental in getting a rather stable footbridge erected on a steel pipe reinforcement for the last about four years as against the conventional wooden footbridge, said Mr. Shivappa. While the footbridge was erected soon after the monsoon every year, they had to depend upon boats during the monsoon when the Netravathi is in spate.
The student community was the most affected with the inundation of the footbridge, he rued and added that there was no other option but to cross the river to get anything for the residents. A proposal to construct a hanging bridge too did not reach its logical end, he said.
Minor Irrigation Department’s Assistant Executive Engineer Vishnu Kamath, who is monitoring the dam’s construction work, said that the present water level would be the minimum when water gets impounded after the dam is commissioned. The department has commissioned a survey through the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, to assess areas that will get submerged in the backwaters when water is impounded for every half metre from the sil level.
Saying that it was doubtful the footbridge could continue to be of any use, Mr. Kamath said that the department is identifying areas prone to backwater ingression into the Kudru where suitable protection walls will be built. It has also proposed to provide temporary motor boat facility for the residents, he added.
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