Rain, vented dam dash hopes of residents

Every November-December Pavoor Uliya Kudru residents used to build makeshift footbridge

Unseasonal rain as well as the barrage-cum-bridge at Adyar Padavu across the Netravathi appear to have dashed the hopes of Pavoor Uliya Kudru residents who used to build a makeshift footbridge after the monsoon to reach the mainland at Adyar on National Highway 75.

Members of about 40 households residing in the Kudru (river island) pooled in money from their own resources and also collected donations to build the footbridge on steel fabrication every year.

Initially, they had spent about ₹15 lakh for steel pipes and wood planks. They were guided by Fr. Jerald Lobo, parish priest of Infant Jesus shrine on the Kudru.

While boats were the only option to cross the swollen Netravathi during the monsoon, they conceptualised the makeshift bridge when the rain receded. They would dismantle the bridge once it started raining.

This was after government agencies failed to address their demand for a permanent bridge, at least a smaller one.

When the construction of the Harekala-Adyar vented dam-cum-bridge commenced this January downstream at Adyar Padavu, the impounded waters of the coffer-bund submerged the footbridge in March-April. Residents had to dismantle the bridge then. They had hoped to restore the bridge after this monsoon; but the Netravathi water is yet to recede, said Basil D’Souza, who was rowing a boat to ferry Kudru residents from one bank to the other on Monday.

He said that the exact situation will become known only when the vented dam is completed and water is impounded. If the water level is higher than the steel fabrication of the footbridge, residents may have to depend on boats alone unless the government provides a permanent solution.

Fr. Lobo had earlier appealed to the district administration and local MLA U.T. Khader to address the issue. He told The Hindu on Monday that there has been no response from the government to residents demand so far.

An appeal has been made to the Prime Minister’s Office also.

The steel fabrications could be erected if the water level is up to about 19 ft from the riverbed. However, the residents are yet to hear from the Minor Irrigation Department about the backwater level when the dam-cum-bridge is commissioned, he said.

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