ALUVA: Around eight lakh people gather at Aluva Manappuram during Sivarathri. The place is badly in need of a permanent bridge, but even during the next season, people will have to make do with the temporary bridge built to be set up by the municipality.
However, the soil test for the permanent bridge has been completed and the construction of the `16-crore bridge is likely to commence this year. It will take another 18 months to finish it and the only resort left for next season is to build a removable bridge. If all goes well, the permanent bridge will be ready by mid-2016. The six-metre wide bridge is being constructed from Kottarakkadavu to Sivaratri Manappuram and the state government has allotted `10 crore for it.
“The idea of constructing a permanent bridge came up in 1995. The proposal was to construct a hanging bridge with an estimated cost of `1 crore. The project plans were prepared and soil test done. But people with vested interest opposed it and even after two decades the dream remains unfulfilled. Now the cost has escalated to `16 crore and the people are on the losing side,” said M O John, former chairman, Aluva Municipality.
As per the plan now, the bridge will be built to Aalthara, situated at a higher altitude than the Manappuram side from a spot close to the Municipal Park in Aluva. A flight of steps would also be built to facilitate movement. The bridge will be built in such a way that water transport will not be disrupted under the bridge.
“Instead of the earlier plan of building a hanging bridge, a six-metre wide concrete beam bridge will be built. It might take another one and half years to build it. Till then a temporary bridge is the only way out,” said Anwar Sadat MLA.
The Aluva Municipality has been building the interim bridge for the past five years. The cost for the same was increased from `25 lakh to `33 lakh during this period.