Tribal Man From Koraput Builds Bridge After Mortgaging His Farm

A tribal man from the Koraput district of Odisha has mortgaged his sugarcane farm to build a 100 metres long bamboo bridge connecting the Southern districts of Koraput and Nabarangpur over the Indravati river. Earlier, he used to ferry people on his boat. After his boat was damaged, he took up the initiative to build this bridge by himself.

The bridge built by Jayadev Bhatra has now become the lifeline for about 10,000 people from three panchayats. The Indravati river separates Koraput’s Gumudi panchayat from Kantasaraguda panchayat in Nabarangpur. People of Kantasaraguda depend on the Kotpad block of Koraput district, and hence, they have to cross the river.

Even though a bridge has been proposed at the Chirma Ghat, it has not been completed due to a land dispute. This, in turn, pushes people to come to Basuli Ghat and cross the river on Bhatra’s boat.

“The boat became too old to carry so many people every day. People decided to construct a temporary bridge at Basuli Ghat till the government completed a permanent bridge at Chirma. The first year people contributed to the construction of a bamboo-made bridge. But, after some months the contribution stopped coming,” said Batra.

“Since we started the bridge and it was too risky to ferry people by boat, I could not back out. I started completing the bridge, bearing its cost. As I did not have ready cash available for bearing labour costs, I had to mortgage my three-acre sugarcane farm. I have so far spent Rs 1 lakh,” he added.

As per reports, the government had earlier conducted a preliminary survey to build a bridge.

“I have come across the report of a bridge constructed by individual effort. It is embarrassing that a person had to build a temporary bridge. I have sought a report from the executive engineer of the Rural Development department about the proposed bridge,” said Kamal Lochan Mishra, Nabarangpur collector.

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