Moved by the plight of students, this school-dropout petty-shopkeeper constructs a hanging bridge

Harsha Raj Gatty | coastaldigest.com
October 22, 2018

Moved by the plight of children in his village not being able to attend school due to lack of connectivity, especially during rains, this 7th standard pass, petty shop owner poured in his hard-earned savings to construct a hanging bridge across Kapila river and ensured Polipu village in Belthangady has connectivity at all times.

At 32-years, Balakrishna Shishila, a resident of Shishila of Belthangady in Dakshina Kannada district said he had to drop out of school owing to family circumstances. However, children from his village missing or dropping out of school just due to lack of connectivity deeply disturbed him.

“Lives of over 15 families depend on the bridge across Kapila River. Earlier, areca stumps and other temporary structures were laid as footbridges. However, these makeshift structures failed to withstand the heavy rains that lash the region. The village was stranded every rainy season, while pleas to construct a permanent bridge to the gram panchayat authorities fell on deaf ears,” he tells coastaldigest.com.

Balakrishna says he put an appeal at the beginning of July with the local authorities for a bridge. Upon not receiving any response, he with the help of 10 other youth from the village, took up the task of constructing a hanging bridge, which was ready by mid-July.

“During my childhood days, I used to construct swing using wood and rope. Using a basic sketch and using Nylon ropes, metal and barks from the local trees, a bridge-like structure was constructed. For the purpose, I used Rs 30,000 from my savings, with which I also need to look after my family of five," he says.

The 35 meters long hanging bridge, across the rivulet, is built at a height of 15 meters and is 3 meters wide. For the last three months, over 15 children, use this bridge to attend schools at Shishila and nearby villages. The bridge has also become a boon for women and elderly, who earlier had no option other than the footbridge or had to wade through water to reach the other side. Krishna Prakash, a localite says that the biggest worry during rains was medical emergencies. “Lack of connectivity made it challenging for people to go to hospitals during emergencies. This bridge helps us to move in a short duration.”

Meanwhile, Balakrishna says that the recent rains that lashed in the region have affected Belthangady too. "The roads were totally damaged, and vehicles were not able to ply on the same. As the panchayat officials turned a blind eye, it was once again the villagers who pooled the money to repair the road,” he adds.

Although Balakrishna has been repeatedly hailed as a 'Hero' by the locals, the cost towards the bridge is yet to be recovered. "Initially, the village panchayat supported the project. But now there is no news or concern on the reimbursement of the amount. Given our financial status, it would aid us a lot if my family could receive the amount," he said.

Comments

Shakeel
 - 
Sunday, 4 Nov 2018

Good job by Mr. Balakrishna. Hatsup to you

Well Wisher
 - 
Monday, 22 Oct 2018

Dear, it's a great work. Kudos,

Would like to see u as India's PM

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coastaldigest.com news network
June 25,2022

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Kumta, June 25: Four college students who were on coastal Karnataka tour, drowned off Baada Beach in Kumta taluk of Uttara Kannada district today.

They were part of 87 students’ team which had come from Bengaluru and stayed in Silver Sand Resort in Baada. 

The four – identified as Arjun, Chaitrashree, Tejas D, Kiran Kumar – were washed away by a high tide when they were playing in the beach, sources said. 

The dead bodies of Arjun and Chaitrashree were found while the two others are still missing.

Sleuths from jurisdictional police station, fire fighters are divers are carrying out the search operation for the missing duo. More details are awaited. 

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News Network
June 24,2022

Bengaluru, June 24: BJP leader and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Umesh Katti has said that Karnataka will be divided into two and India will have 50 new states after the next Lok Sabha elections. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will take the initiative on this issue, Katti added.

Katti, a vocal proponent of separate statehood for north Karnataka, , made the statement at a Belagavi Bar Association event on Wednesday. A video of his speech has now gone viral.

“A debate is trending on social media that over 50 states will be formed in the country after next Lok Sabha polls. It is for sure that North Karnataka will also become a separate state on the basis of population spread across Karnataka. After the 2024 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself will form new states. Maharashtra will become three, Karnataka two, and Uttar Pradesh will become four states,” Katti said.

Saying that Bengaluru city is overcrowded, lacks water supply for citizens who have to spend hours in traffic jams, Katti said that it was high time that IT companies thought beyond Bengaluru. North Karnataka has huge potential, he said, urging people to join hands to demand a north Karnataka state.

Katti, who represents Hukkeri Assembly constituency, has demanded separate statehood for north Karnataka in the past too, causing embarrassment to the ruling BJP. In 2019, Katti demanded then chief minister B S Yediyurappa award separate statehood to north Karnataka.

In 2021, Katti courted controversy by saying that people “low on confidence” in fighting coronavirus could not be saved.

Siddaramaiah slams

Meanwhile, former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday criticised Katti saying “to even think of dividing the state was equivalent to betraying mother, motherland and mother tongue.”

“Many Kannadigas had sacrificed everything to realise a unified Karnataka. To even think of dividing our state is equivalent to betraying mother, motherland and mother tongue. Minister Umesh Katti has revealed that the discussions are being held at Prime Minister @narendramodi’s level to divide Karnataka. This is a very dangerous development,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.

Siddaramaiah also sought a clarification from Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on the issue. “@PMOIndia @CMofKarnataka  @BSBommai should issue clarification about this. This is not the first time Minister Umesh Katti has made such statements,” the former CM said.

CM disowns statement

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday disowned the statement of his cabinet. “There is no thinking or proposal at the government level at all on a separate state of North Karnataka,” Bommai told reporters in New Delhi.   

“This is not the first time Umesh Katti has spoken about it. He has been saying it for many years. He should himself reply to this question”, he shot back to a query posed by reporters.

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News Network
June 20,2022

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Bengaluru, June 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Bengaluru on Monday on a two-day visit to Karnataka, during which he will be participating in a series of events in the city and Mysuru, and inaugurate or lay foundation for various developmental works.

Laying the foundation stone for Bengaluru Suburban Railway Project, inauguration of Dr BR Ambedkar School of Economics (BASE), participating in the International Yoga Day event and visit to Chamundi hills to offer prayers to Goddess Chamundeshwari, the reigning deity of Mysuru and Suttur Mutt, a prominent Lingayat seminary, are among the key highlights of the visit.

PM Modi was received at the Yelahanka Airforce Station here by Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, veteran BJP leader BS Yediyurappa, and state party chief Nalin Kumar Kateel.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, several of Bommai's cabinet colleagues, Members of Parliament, legislators, and officials were among those present.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made both in Bengaluru and Mysuru for the PM's visit.

Before leaving for Bengaluru from New Delhi, PM Modi tweeted both in Kannada and English sharing details of his visit.

"Leaving for Karnataka, where I will be attending programmes in Bengaluru and Mysuru. The first programme will be held at @iiscbangalore, where a Centre for Brain Research would be inaugurated. The foundation stone of the Bagchi-Parthasarathy Multispeciality Hospital will be laid," PM Modi tweeted.

"This afternoon, I will be at the Dr. BR Ambedkar School of Economics (BASE), Bengaluru to inaugurate a new campus of BASE University and unveil the statue of Dr B. R. Ambedkar. 150 tech hubs would also be dedicated to the nation. These have been developed by transforming ITIs," he said.

Noting that during a programme in Bengaluru, development works worth over ₹ 27,000 crore would either be inaugurated or their foundation stones would be laid, the PM said these works cover diverse sectors and will boost 'Ease of Living' for the people of Bengaluru and surrounding areas.

"I will reach Mysuru at around 5:30 PM and there too, key development works would either be inaugurated or their foundation stones would be laid. I will also be attending a programme at Suttur Math. Tomorrow morning, the Yoga Day programme will also take place in Mysuru," he added.

Responding to PM's tweet, CM Bommai welcoming him said, " I thank him for choosing our land which is blessed with rich fauna & flora, to celebrate the International Yoga Day in the year of #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav."

"Heartfelt gratitude to Hon'ble PM @narendramodi Ji for being a part of the celebration of development projects in diverse sectors, worth over ₹ 27,000 crores.

These projects will boost 'Ease of Living' for the people of Bengaluru & the neighbouring areas," he added.

As per the Prime Minister's itinerary, Modi after IISC and BASE events, will reach Kommaghatta to dedicate to the nation various projects in Bengaluru including the inauguration of "India's one and the only and first Air Conditioned" Railway Station, which is in Bayyappana Halli.

He will also lay the Foundation Stone for the Bengaluru Suburban Railway Projects and Six National Highway Projects in Karnataka worth ₹ 7,231 crore, comprising various five National Highway Projects and one Multi-Model Logistic Park Projects in the same venue.

PM Modi will then leave for Mysuru, where he will lay the foundation stone for the new coaching complex to be established at Naganahalli and then, proceed to All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) and dedicate the Centre of Excellence there. Besides, he will interact with the beneficiaries of the central government scheme at the same venue.

He will dedicate 'Veda Patashala' building and release commentaries on Yoga and Bhakthi at Suttur Math.

The PM will visit Chamundi Hills the same evening and have the Darshan of Goddess Sri Chamundeshwari at the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and return to Mysuru and halt there on that day.

On June 21, PM Modi will participate in the International Day of Yoga with the theme "Yoga for Humanity" organized by the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Sidda and Homoeopathy ( AYUSH ), at the Palace premises, and leave for New Delhi the same morning.

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