Mangaluru, Oct 29: Even after seven decades of independence, and various central and state government constructing thousands of roads and bridges in the county, an island just 12 kilometres away from proposed Smart City Mangaluru, is without connectivity.
Pavoor Uliya, an island surrounded by the Netravathi River, has 52 houses, a church and a government school that was shut down recently. The only mode of transport for the residents to reach the mainland is the boat.
During summer, a temporary wooden bridge is installed. However, during the rainy season, one needs to take a boat to get off this island to go to school, work or for other daily activities. There are no street lights, no shops and no medical assistance available in this island. Hence, the residents have to depend totally upon either Mangalore city or Adyar or Farangipet.
Pavoor Uliya means ‘left over or remaining land’. The oval shaped island is spread over 250 acres. Flavy D’Souza, a home maker from this island could not save her husband seventeen years ago, when he had suffered a heart attack. He died as he could not be taken to the hospital in time due to lack of connectivity.
The story is not just of Flavy alone. Many other families too have suffered similar tragedies due to absence of a bridge to the mainland. The residents blame the apathy of people’s representatives and the district administration, and say that they are forced to live in stone-age like era, cut off from the outer world. Their problems get aggravated when heavy rains lash the region. The children who live in this island risk their lives every day to go to schools and colleges.
The island can be reached only by rowing for around 800 meters. “Every day is an adventurous trip. Juggling between boat, overflowing river with strong currents and heavy rains, we try to cross the Nethravati and go to school” says a student.
Woes of students
The island has around 50 students studying in various schools and colleges. To go to the other end, they have to assemble near a boat boarding point by 6.30 am. As there is salt water, they need at least 4 – 5 pairs of footwear every year and they skip classes whenever there is heavy flood in the river.
Most of the island dwellers here make a living by fishing and rolling beedies. However, due to rampant sand mining and other ecological imbalance, fishing activity has reduced and they are forced to take up alternative jobs outside the island. Though they live surrounded by water, they do not have water for consumption. Only one well situated adjacent to church provides drinking water for the entire village. “We are forced to drink salt water. We boil it first and then consume it,” says one of the residents.
"At the time of election, the candidates visit this island and assure to build a bridge and provide other facilities. But once the election is over, promises are forgotten. Every day the river gets deeper due to frequent digging of sand. There are many illegal sand mining units operating in surrounding areas of our island. It makes us afraid and if the sand mining continues, definitely the island will disappear within few years, “ says a resident.
Hence, the immediate need of the people of this island is to have at least a temporary bridge to connect to the main land, if not a permanent bridge. The said bridge will cost around Rs. 25 lacs. Therefore, the residents have formed a committee for construction of the bridge under the guidance and leadership of parish priest of Infant Jesus Chapel. They look forward for kind-hearted donors who will donate generously for the construction of this temporary bridge.
Name of the Account : Infant Jesus Chapel Savings A/c Number : 0641101072513 Name of the Bank : Canara Bank Name of the Branch : Farangipet Branch IFSC code : CNRB0000641 MICR code : 575