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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News Network
May 5,2022

Heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds claimed uprooted several trees across in parts of Karnataka including Hubballi on Wednesday.

The short spell of rain also claimed a life in Hubballi. Robin Marosh (33), who was travelling in an autorickshaw, died after a huge tree fell on the moving vehicle near Desai Circle. The driver of the auto sustained minor injuries.

Two passengers in a car behind the auto had a miraculous escape after a tree branch fell on their vehicle. Power supply was disrupted as electricity poles were uprooted in several areas.

Meanwhile, a woman and her son were struck dead by lightning in Megalahatti village of Molakalmuru taluk, Chitradurga district. The deceased have been identified as Marakka and Venkatesh.

They were returning home with their flock of sheep when it started raining. The two took shelter beneath a tree when they were struck by lightning.

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News Network
May 6,2022

Mangaluru, May 6: A group of miscreants belonging to a saffron outfit have desecrated a place of worship belonging to Christians in Peradka in Renjaladi Village of Kadaba Taluk in Dakshina Kannada recently. 

Fr Jose Varghese of the Emmanuel Assembly of God, who lodged a complaint with the jurisdictional police on May 5, said that unknown miscreants broke open the door, entered a prayer hall around midnight on May 1 and destroyed the holy cross. They also placed a Hindu flag and a photo of Lord Hanuman on the spot, he said.  

The miscreants absconded with an electricity meter and damaged documents inside a cupboard, the complaint said.

Fr Varghese also said in the complaint that the people stole bulbs, a water pump and pipes worth Rs 14,000. They also disconnected the power supply from the electricity pole and fled with the meter box on May 4, he said in the complaint.

A case has been registered under IPC sections 448 (punishment for trespass), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 427 (whoever commits mischief and thereby causes loss or damage to the amount of Rs 50 or above), 379 (punishment for theft) at Kadaba police station.

Fr Varghese noted that the prayer hall had been paying its property taxes regularly for the last 30 years.

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News Network
May 7,2022

malpe.jpg

Udupi: Now, you can walk over waves at Malpe beach in Udupi district as Karnataka’s first floating bridge has come up here. The 100-metre-long and 3-metre-wide bridge can be easily relocated as it is not a permanently attached structure. 

Udupi MLA K Raghupathi Bhat inaugurated the bridge on Friday. At a time, 100 visitors will be allowed to walk on the bridge and 10 lifeguards will be deputed to provide security to tourists.

Each tourist will be allowed to stay on the bridge for 15 minutes. Bhat said the floating bridge will attract tourists as it gives the unique feeling of the movement of the sea under their feet. “A team from Hanuman Vittoba Bhajan Mandali took up this project and the priority has been given to the security of visitors,” he said.

Following recent tragedies at St Mary’s Island, Deputy Commissioner M Kurma Rao and other officials held a meeting and reviewed the security of the bridge. To avoid any tragedies, the government will buy two jet skis and station one each at St Mary’s Island and Malpe beach. 

They will patrol the area to avoid any tragedies, he said. Sudesh Shetty, leaseholder, Malpe beach, said the floating bridge has been introduced here as they are crowd pullers abroad.

The bridge has been put up at a cost of Rs 80 lakh and will be open from 9 am to 6 pm, he said. “Those above five years of age can pay Rs 100 and have the experience of the sea for 15 minutes. A boat will always be near the bridge and also 30 lifebuoy rings will be on the bridge,” Sudesh added.

bhat.jpg

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