Have you heard of the “bridge-man”? Gangadhar Rout, a resident of Kanpur village in Keonjhar district, Odisha, goes by this moniker. And he is called this name because he utilised all of his savings (around 12 lakhs) to enable the construction of a bridge left unfinished by the authorities for 14 years! It seems that his example has served as an inspiration for many others in the country.
The Brahmanakeppige village of Shivamogga district in Karnataka is home to about 80 families. The place is practically an island surrounded by the Kalkattu rivulet, a tributary of the Sharavati river. Only a 100-metre wooden bridge connects it to the outside world.
However, on August 9 the bridge got washed away due to the heavy rainfall in the area and overflowing of the river. Having lost the only route for villagers to travel for necessities, the Tumari Gram Panchayat decided to utilize Rs.15,000 of its own funds and rebuild the bridge themselves.
75 residents came together under the supervision of the local carpenters (Lokanna, Manju and Lakshman) and built a bridge in a single day! Locally sourced wooden logs were used for the construction that began bright and early at 7.30 a.m. By 4.30 p.m, it was open for pedestrians and two-wheelers.
The Hindu quoted a local resident named Manjunath saying,
“The children of Brahmanakeppige commute on this bridge daily to attend school in Tumari. For medical needs and to purchase ration also, the people here are dependent on Tumari. But the people here realised that if the bridgework is to be executed by the government, it could take months as the proposal needs clearances at multiple levels. So, it was decided to rebuild it using shramadaan.”
Kudos to the people of Brahmanakeppige village! You are an inspiration for us all.