Heavy water release from KRS Dam: Movement on historic Wellesley  Bridge Banned
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Heavy water release from KRS Dam: Movement on historic Wellesley Bridge Banned

August 10, 2020

Srirangapatna: With thousands of cusecs of water being released from upstream Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam, traffic and movement of people has been banned on the historic British-era Wellesley Bridge in Srirangapatna. 

As a sort of a permanent measure, the Panchayat has erected a 5-feet wall at both the ends of the bridge — near Ambedkar Bhavan and the east entrance. This was done to ensure safety of the historical bridge and the public, according to Srirangapatna Town Municipal Council. Yesterday, the Dam recorded an outflow of 73,201 cusecs into the River and 1,358 cusecs to Canals.

Also a high alert has been sounded near Gosai Ghat and Nimishamba Temple. Following heavy discharge of water, the steps that lead to the river beside Nimishamba Temple have been submerged. Mandya Deputy Commissioner Dr. M.V. Venkatesh has imposed ban orders around the Nimishamba Temple where devotees are only allowed to enter the Temple and are barred from entering the river bank area. 

Tourists eager to see water flowing from KRS Dam being prevented from entering the Wellesley Bridge.

Every year, when more than 50,000 cusecs of water is released from KRS Dam due to copious rains in Kodagu, traffic on this particular bridge is blocked and Policemen are posted on both sides. This year, however, permanent walls have been built to prevent movement of pedestrians and vehicles on the bridge.  

Panchayat officers said that as rains are likely to increase they do not want to risk the lives and as such, the walls have been built to restrict movement.                      

What forced the Panchayat to take such a step is the incident where a woman jumped into River Cauvery along with her child on Saturday. While the woman was rescued by alert local residents, her child was washed away. 

Officials said that people come from far and wide to see the water release from KRS Dam and they stand over the bridge to see water gushing out with great force. “The bridge is old and there is a risk and as such, we have erected walls on both sides to prevent movement,” said Panchayat officials. 

A concrete wall being built at one side of Wellesley Bridge.

The Wellesley Bridge is the only oldest bridge on the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway that still handles vehicular movement. But only cars and motorcycles of local residents are allowed to move on it and now that too have been banned. 

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The Bridge construction began in 1802 and was completed in 1804 during the reign of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar at a cost of Rs.5.5 lakh. It was built after the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1799 during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. It is an engineering marvel built on monolithic stone pillars.

Wellesley Bridge served the travelling public between Bengaluru and Mysuru till 1967. Later a new and bigger bridge was built. However, wild growth and lack of maintenance and strong water currents during monsoon and during the water release from the KRS have taken a toll on the historical bridge.

Its construction was supervised by Dewan Poornaiah and it was named after the then Governor General Richard Wellesley, considering his contribution in strengthening the British Military Forces.

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