RAYAGADA: The suspension bridge over river Nagabali near Chekaguda village lies in a dilapidated condition in absence of repair.
Thousands of villagers depend on the 151-metre bridge to connect to the mainstream market. But, crossing the bridge has become a risky affair due to lack of maintenance. The cement tiles on the bridge have cracked and needs immediate revamping of fencing, greasing of iron ropes and replacement of nut bolts.
In 2012, former Rayagada Collector Nitin Bhanudas Jawle had taken the initiative to provide connectivity to the villagers of Karubai, Bado Alubadi, Baising, Dangolodi, Durgapadu, Mirabali, Tala Alubadi and Erukubadi gram panchayats, covering a population of about 30,000 tribals. With the suspension bridge, the villagers now travel only five km to reach the district headquarters town, which was earlier 25 km.
The bridge was constructed at an estimated cost of `1.5 crore in March 2012 under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), launched by Central Government for development of infrastructure in remote areas of Maoist hit districts of the State. Apart from providing connectivity to the villagers, the bridge, which is 100 feet above the river, has also been a major tourist attraction.
Additional District Magistrate Laxmikant Behera said, directions have been issued to the BDO Dayamaya Padhi to carry out maintenance work.
Padhi said, “Absence of technical staff to look after the bridge maintenance has delayed the work and we have appealed the administration to hand over the charge to Rural Works Department to take care of the suspension bridge.”