Kodangala: Story of the missing link between two roads

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Report by Eugene and Elias D’Souza
Pictures by Anil Alva
Bellevision Media Network

Moodubelle, 24 April 2010: It was exactly one year ago on 24th April, 2009, the Kodangala-Nellikatte Road was completed at the cost of forty five lakhs. However, during the past one year, this tarred road has remained just ornamental as no vehicles, large or small can move through it as there is a small missing link- abridge over the Kodnagala River. The people of Kodangala have been demanding a bridge so that they can travel not only in private vehicles but also use public transport like buses by which they can reduce considerably the time taken to commute to Moodubelle, Manipal or Udupi. However, the administration has sanctioned a vented dam at the site which the local people do not approve of. Hence, in the tug of war between the administration and the local people, the road has remained unconnected for the last year. Bellevision tried to understand the dichotomy of the problem by speaking to the concerned parties.

Kodangala with the topography of hills and valleys, forests and paddy fields is a region in Moodubelle that has its own rustic beauty. A small rivulet, locally called as the ‘Kodangala River’, a branch of the Alevoor River divides Kodangala into two parts, northern and southern. During the summer time when the rivulet is dry, people from the northern side can cross the dry bed of the rivulet and walk the distance up to Nellikatte and take a bus either to Udupi or Moodubelle. However, the people of northern side of the rivulet find it extremely difficult during the monsoon season and even later to commute to Moodubelle or Udupi when the rivulet is filled with water. If at all they have to come to Moodubelle either to attend the Sunday Mass or Tuesday market or for the children to attend the school or Junior College, they have to practically walk via Marne, Gundu Paade and Arbi to reach Moodubelle covering the double distance and taking double time than the distance they cover and time they take if they could cross the rivulet and take bus from Nellikatte.

On the other hand, the people living on the southern side of the rivulet would find it easier to go to Manipal if they could cross the rivulet and have a mode of transport. The irony of the fact is that the roads on both sides of the rivulet have been constructed and tarred, but they are idle as vehicles, either large or small do not use these roads as they reach the dead end at the rivulet as there is no link between the two ends of the roads due to lack of a small bridge.

For a long time there was nothing but a narrow path through the hills, valleys and forests and the edges of the paddy fields. Gradually, people felt the need to have a proper road to connect the region with the main road so that travelling as well as carrying of goods would become easier. With this view Mr. Frederick D’Souza with his own expenses prepared a ‘kaccha’ road from the main Moodubelle-Udupi Road near Nellikatte up to his house.

As the region falls within the jurisdiction of the Manipura Village Panchayat, the residents of Kodnagal had made an appeal to the authorities of the Panchayat but nothing came out of it. Meanwhile, after Mr. Gerald Fernandes became the member of the Belle Village Panchayat, the people of Kodangala approached him with a request to use his good office and get a road sanctioned. Mr. Gerald Fernandes managed to get a sanction of two lakhs of rupees for the road in 2006 and the road was extended up to the rivulet. A similar road was constructed from the northern side of the rivulet as well.

The hope of the people to have a regular link road between the Moodubelle-Udupi main road and the Marne road was rekindled when the Krantaka Government sanctioned 45 lakhs of rupees for broadening and tarring the road on both sides of the rivulet which was completed within a considerably short period between October 2008 and April 2009. With the road completed people of Kodangala are still waiting for bridging the gap between these two roads over the small rivulet that could be built within a short period with three pillars-two at the ends and one in the center.

Why the people of Kodangala are still waiting for the bridge to come up though the sign board at the two ends of the constructed roads mention that the work of the roads was completed on 24th April 2009, exactly one year ago? This is the story of the delay in constructing the bridge across the rivulet. It is the story of what the people want and what the administration is prepared to give them.

People of the area claim that they had surrendered part of their land for the road as they were given to understand that after completion of the road on both sides of the rivulet a bridge would be constructed. They felt that the bridge would ease their commuting problems to Moodubelle and udupi as well as Manipal with small as well as heavy vehicles including buses plying across the bridge.

When Mr. Gerald Fernandes was contacted and asked as to why in spite of the completion of the tarred roads on both sides of the rivulet one year ago no provision is being made to link these roads over the rivulet, he said that it was he who had taken the initiative to have a proper road and had got the sanction of two lakhs of rupees initially and 45 lakhs of rupees later. Further he said that the government had sanctioned a vented dam at that point of the rivulet and even tenders have been issued a year ago.However, the people of the area did not allow the vented dam to be built, as they were adamant of having a bridge.

Mr. Gerald was told about the point of view of the local people. They are of the opinion that a new vented dam at the proposed site would be worthless as there would be no provision of canalas to take the water to the paddy fields. The people suggest that since long there had been two make shift dams roughly half a kilometre distance on both sides of the proposed new dam site. The concrete structures of these old dams are still in existence and the old canal system which had been in disuse only requires modification and repair. Hence, the people feel that these two dam structures that were in disuse since nearly fifteen years could be revived and a separate provision could be made to build a bridge to connect these two roads.

In reply, Mr. Gerald said that those original structures of dams cannot be used as the gap between the pillars is too wide and no wooden plank can be fitted into the slots. Besides, he pointed out that nowadays many agriculturists do not cultivate their land and any investment on these dilapidated dam structures would be a waste and it would not serve the purpose of linking the roads on either sides of the rivulet. On the other hand the new vented dam would have helped in conserving water which would raise the water level in the wells and also would have enabled the people to use the road as the 8 feet wide top of the vented dam would have facilitated the smaller vehicles to pass through. When pointed out the persistent demand of the local people to have a bridge to connect the roads, Mr. Gerald said that the government sanction to many bridges in the Karnataka State is still pending and it would take a long time to get sanction from the government for this bridge as well. Meanwhile, the vented dam could have been constructed by the side leaving the main slot for the bridge to be constructed in the future whenever the government would give sanction. This, he said, would have served the purpose of conserving water and linking the roads.

However, the local people feel that once the vented dam is constructed no politician or administration would bother to have a bridge to connect these roads and their dream of having a bridge would forever remain unfulfilled. While appreciating Mr. Gerald Fernandes for the getting the funds from the government for the road, the people of the area feel that he could have done a little more in getting the sanction for the short bridge connecting the road on two sides of the rivulet, rather than the vented dam.

The boards displayed by the government agencies at both ends of the road proudly proclaim that the improvement of Kodangala-Nellikatte Road was done at a cost of Rs. 45 lakhs, the work on which was started on 26th October 2008 and completed on 24th April 2009, exactly a year ago. The roads on both sides of the river look freshly tarred as they are not being used for vehicular traffic due to the missing link. The gap is comparatively small and if it is linked it would be of great help to the hapless people and children of the area to have easy access both to Moodubelle, Udupi and Manipal.


Comments on this Article
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Tue, May-4-2010, 4:48
All the hard work and land sacrifice will be nearly a waste if missing link is not attended seriously. This is going to be a fantastic connectivity between Moodubelle and Manipal. A dream development for Moodubelle and specially to the students, with strategic access of roads. Moreover, looking at the pictures, a treat to the commuter through the beautiful and green country side road. Hence the missing link should be preferably a bridge that can allow two vehicles to cross each other comfortably through the new access. Since we have capable youth political leaders, it is not an impossible task to succeed. End of the day, government is by the people and for the people. Government will and should support the projects those are going to help common man. There is a need to attend existing two vented dams for obtaining optimum benefits considering the dwindling water table levels. It may not be an easy task, however a lot of focus is needed to get the work done.
Victor D Souza, Moodubelle / Doha Sat, April-24-2010, 1:13
The efforts of Bellevision Team comprising Dr. Eugene, Mr. Elias and Mr. Anil in addressing this issue talking to concerned parties is really commendable. The report and the pictures clearly shows the plight of route which could have been very useful for public if the bridge was built. Let us hope that this issue would resolve soon with the mutual agreement between the local people and the Panchayath. I am sure the efforts made by Bellevision in bridging the parties concerned will not go in vain.
santhosh prakash mendonca, now padubelle / kodangala / USA(MERCHANT NAVY) Fri, April-23-2010, 2:03
Your article is very nice and true and I appreciate. and concerned people must be look after the problems of local, vented dam for that areas is not suitable, because already 2 dams are there but unfortunately, they are not in use. But I still insist a bridge must be helpful not only Kodangala but also all the near by area like Nellikatte, Moodubelle. So my request with concerned person is not executed the plan its like \"kaige sikka thuthu, baige cigalilla\". Whatever the work so far done, it will not help local people over there ,without a bridge.
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