Stolen railings, darkness leave Quepem bridge unsafe


The three-decades-old aqueduct bridge over the Kushavati river, which once served as a quick route for the villagers and students of Sirvoi and Bhatt to get to Quepem town, has now turned dangerous, and is hardly ever taken. There are electricity poles, but no light fixtures. Worse, almost all the railings on the side of the bridge have been stolen. "This has been going on for the last two years," a villager said. The bridge was built about 28 years ago. The main Selaulim irrigation canal passes 50m below the bridge, which spans 70m and 3m wide.
The bridge spans over the river at height of around 50m at Bhatt, Quepem. "Only a few railings remain. It is becoming unsafe to cross the bridge," a local said, adding that the PWD has not bothered to inspect the bridge or carry out any maintenance work for several years.
With regards to the electricity poles, the residents of Sirvoi and Bhatt told TOI that the top end of all the electricity poles is corroded and lights cannot be fixed onto them. When contacted, S I Pathan, executive engineer, WRD, division X, Pajimoll-Sanguem, said that their department is aware of the stolen railings. The assistant engineer's office at Quepem had filed a police complaint against unknown persons at the Quepem police station about four months ago, but the Quepem police could not trace the culprits, he said.
Speaking to TOI, Pathan added that the department is planning to construct concrete railings on the bridge and has already prepared an estimate of around 2.7 lakh, which has been sent for approval. Pathan said that he would instruct the assistant engineer to dispatch a letter to the electricity department to repair all the poles and restore illumination. [TOI]