The newly-constructed bridge connects Kodagu and Kerala; facilitates travel to Kannur Airport
Virajpet: The newly constructed Kootupole bridge that links Kodagu district with neighbouring Kerala was formally thrown open for public travel last Monday.
Kerala PWD Minister P.A. Mohammad Riaz, Peravoor MLA Sanni Joseph, Kodagu’s Virajpet MLA K.G. Bopaiah, MLC M.P. SujaKushalappa and other dignitaries travelled in an open jeep on the bridge from Kerala border side to Karnataka side of the border, thus throwing open the newly constructed bridge.
The bridge is at the Karnataka-Kerala border and is part of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP) road between Thalassery and Valavupara. The bridge work was completed as Karnataka Wildlife Board gave permission to construct the same.
The old bridge, built during the British era across Kootupole, was providing inter-state connectivity at Makutta and it was narrow and in dilapidated condition. With the construction of Kannur International Airport, the density of vehicles on the old bridge had increased. To provide connectivity to the Airport, the Kerala Government had developed a 55-km road and bridges at an estimated cost of Rs. 360 crore till Kootupole.
However, the Karnataka Forest Department had stalled the work in 2017 considering that the land belonged to Bramhagiri Wildlife Division. Though the claim of Kerala was that the river is in its territory, the Karnataka authorities claimed that a portion of the bridge is in Bramhagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka and also they claimed that half the river belongs to them, following which the work had to be stopped.
Speaking during the inaugural function of the bridge, MLA K.G. Bopaiah said that the bridge will provide a new link between Kerala and Karnataka and also largely help vehicles travelling towards Kannur Airport. Pointing out that the small bridge was severely hampering vehicular movement on this important border road, he said that the new bridge will cater to the needs of the travelling public, especially those wanting to reach Kannur Airport from different parts of Karnataka.
MLC SujaKushalappa said that the British had built a small bridge at Kootupole, which had become problematic for vehicular movement due to its small width. Now, with the construction of the new bridge it is hoped that trade and commerce between the two States would become faster and cheaper, he added. He further said that the new bridge will also help devotees who are on the Sabarimala pilgrimage.
Peravoor MLA Sanni Joseph in his address said that the bridge faced many legal hurdles, which were successfully addressed subsequently. KSTP has built 7 bridges from Thalassery to Valavupara including the Kootupole Bridge and many roads to reach the Kannur Airport at a total cost of Rs. 360 crore, he said and added that five of these bridges have been inaugurated, while two others are set for inauguration. He thanked the Karnataka Government and MLA Bopaiah for their co-operation in the construction of the bridge.
Kodagu Hindu AikyaVedike Working President ValsanTilankeri, BJP leaders V.V. Chandran, M.R. Suresh and Binoy Kurian, Congress leader Thomas Varghese, Virajpet TP member C.K. Prithvinath, leaders B.M. Ganesh, Achhapanda Mahesh Ganapathi, Patrappanda Raghu Nanaiah, Chuppa Nagaraj, MadhuDevaiah and others were present.