KALABURGI: Remember 11-year-old boy Venkatesh of Hirerayanakunte village, Devadurga taluk of Raichur district who showed way to an ambulance to cross the bridge under water on August last year.
Though the Raichur district administration recognised his exemplary courage and felicitated him during Independence Day celebrations then, still the grievance remains to be addressed and Venkatesh takes lead in narrating the same.
The condition of the bridge which disrupted connectivity between Bengaluru and Shorapur at Hirerayanakumpe due to flooding still remains the same.
Venkatesh who pointed at the pathetic state of the bridge for about 200 metres on the eve of Independence Day (August 14) told The New Indian Express "a drizzle is suffice to weaken the bridge further".
Venkatesh requested the government to take immediate steps to increase the height of the bridge by reconstructing it so that the vehicle could pass with ease during rainy season, irrespective of flood or not.
Hirerayanakunte remains a 'kompe' (a rustic word used in Kannada to describe a non- descript village with least facilities) since many years. Venkatesh has navigated many vehicles on this bridge in the last few years, but no efforts are made to improve the bridge or the village, he said.
Raichur Deputy Commissioner Venkateshkumar said, "The work on repairing the very bridge has been listed few months back. However, due to Covid-19 and rainy season, we haven't been able to take up the work so far. The work will be taken up on a priority after the rainy season."
Venkatesh aspires to be an advocate
Venkatesh is now in class seven. He is aspiring to be an advocate so that he could do more for the people in getting their due rights.
It may be recalled here that an ambulance carrying a dead body and five children was going towards Shorapur from Bengaluru on August 9, 2019 but had to stop due to overflowing water on the bridge making it difficult to identify the road. The driver was in a fix as it was next to impossible to drive back to Bengaluru.
Venkatesh came as a godsend and showed the way by running on the bridge piloting the ambulance to safety. The brave act of Venkatesh was reported first in The New Indian Express, besides doing follow ups that attracted the attention of many.
Acknowledging TNIE's support, Venkatesh said "It was due to the extensive coverage of TNIE that many other media houses followed suit and various other organisations and NGOs too took notice of my deed".
Focus India of Kerala has conferred bravery award on Venkatesh, besides building a house for the boy at an estimated cost of Rs 5 lakh in his native, followed by Bravery award from Indian Council for Child Welfare, Hoysala bravery Award by Women and Children Welfare Department and many other awards in the last one year.
"I am grateful to the state government and union government and the organisations for recognising my little service. But I would be more happy when my native becomes a model village in the district", Venkatesh said.
Ambarish the head master of Government Higher Primary School where Venkatesh studies told this correspondent "that there is an urgent need for renovation of the school". Block Resource Person of Devadurga Taluk Shivaraj said that the department would do everything possible to give better education to Venkatesh