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
September 19,2020

Bengaluru, Sept 19: India's first Coast Guard academy will be established at Mangaluru, Defence Spokesperson (PRO) Bengaluru said on Saturday.

Around 158 acres Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) land has been taken over for setting up ICG Academy.

"India's first Coast Guard academy to come up at Mangaluru. 158 acres KIADB land taken over for setting up #ICGAcademy. A milestone towards professional maritime training to ICG officers & men & stakeholders," said Defence Spokesperson (PRO) Bengaluru in a tweet.

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coastaldigest.com news network
September 22,2020

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Mangaluru/Udupi, Sept 22: Two prominent Congress leaders from coastal region —U T Khader and Vinay Kumar Sorake — have been appointed as the spokespersons of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson.

KPCC chief D K Shivakumar has asked both the former ministers to take charge immediately and advised to work and strengthen the organization as per the principles and policies of the Congress party.

Mr Khader, who currently represents Mangaluru City constituency in Karnataka Assembly had earlier served as the minister food and health minister in Siddaramaiah government and urban development minister in H D Kumaraswamy government.

Mr Sorake had served as a minister, Member of Parliament from Udupi, and as a member of the Legislative Assembly from Kaup and Puttur.

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News Network
September 21,2020

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Udupi, Sep 21: Residents of a prominent apartment complex in Manipal today woke up to witness a landslip adjacent to their building.

‘Premier Enclave’, which was inaugurated around five years ago is now facing threat due to landslip amid torrential rains.

Deputy Commissioner G Jagadeesh has instructed the residents to vacate the building as soon as possible. Developed by Premier Builders, the 8+2 storey residential apartment has around 35 flats.

Udupi City Municipal Council commissioner Anand K Kallolikar and engineer Mohanraj visited and examined the spot.

According to Mohanraj the apartment was constructed on pile foundation and if a crack appears on the wall before 24 hours, it is could pose a serious risk.

As part of precautionary measures, the 2 km road stretch from Indrali junction to Manipal, has been turned into one-way.

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