Condemning the delay in construction of a new bridge in place of the damaged bridge across River Bhavani in front of Bhavani Sagar Reservoir, over 200 people from 10 villages in the area staged a sit-in protest at Sathyamangalam Taluk Office here on Friday.
A bridge was constructed on Puliyampatti – Bannari Road in 1948 to transport materials during the construction of the reservoir and is used by villagers frequently. However, movement of vehicles was stopped after it was found damaged on April, 8, 2018. This affected people in Pungar, Periyar Nagar, Karachikorai, Kothamangalam, Sujjilkuttai, Thengumarahada and Allimayar as they have to take additional 13 km to reach their villages.
Experts from CSIR – Structural Engineering Research Centre, Chennai, inspected the 70-year-old bridge and recommended constructing a new one instead of carrying out repairs to the old bridge. Hence, the State government accorded administrative sanction for construction of a new bridge at ₹7.98 crore. However, work is yet to begin as villagers said that even after one-and-a-half years, there is no progress.
When villagers staged a protest, officials informed them that tender has been floated for constructing the new bridge and a contractor would be appointed soon. They said that new bridge cannot be constructed in the same place after demolishing the old bridge.
Officials said that the new bridge will come up at the northern side of the old bridge and added that work will begin soon after appointing the contractor.