The 100-metre-long hanging foot bridge constructed across Kallada River connecting Kulakkada in Kollam district and Ilanga Mangalam in Pathanamthitta district is an engineering marvel set in a picturesque locale.
However, the newly constructed bridge may turn out to be a blunder as one end of the bridge leads to a rubber plantation of a private party, far from the public road.
There is no approach path for the yet-to-be commissioned bridge, constructed by the Revenue Department, at the Kulakkada end which opens to the private land. When contacted, the Revenue authorities said that a path would be constructed through the river puramboke to connect it to the public road some 200 metres away. But the design of the bridge may stand as a hindrance for such a path.
“The bridge stands around 20 feet above the river bed and puramboke land. There is no ramp or steps to get down from the bridge to the puramboke land and the only option is to step into the land of the private party,” said Anandhu Krishnan, a local resident.
Modifications have to be made before the bridge becomes functional.
The bridge which is yet to be commissioned was aimed as a safe alternative for crossing the river, as against the dangerous ferry service in the country boat across the river where sand mining is rampant.
The majority of those using the ferry are students from Ilanga Mangalam studying at Kulakkada Higher Secondary School.
The bridge was proposed in the wake of the boat tragedy at Chaliyar, where many students were killed. Pedestrians have already made a path through the property of the private person, without the owner’s consent.
The owner of the property, Jayapradeep told ‘Express’ that the bridge meets at the centre of his rubber plantation and giving land for a road would cut his property into two halves.
“The authorities could have changed the location of the bridge slightly to connect it to the public road and by acquiring necessary land before construction,” he said.
Even as this suspension bridge is attracting many visitors, criticism has also been lodged against its design.