In the wake of the Morbi mishap in Gujarat on Sunday, the Odisha government has started to inspect its hanging bridges — the structure over Mahanadi River connecting to famous Dhableswar Shiv temple in Cuttack and over Nagabali River in Rayagada district.
THE CUTTACK BRIDGE
As scores of people were expected at the Shiv temple on Monday, in view of the Hindu holy month of Kartik, the administration allowed only 200 people on the structure at a time. Earlier, they used to allow 600 people. Amid reports of cracks on the bridge, it has now been shut for two days and section 144 has been imposed at the shrine, curbing gathering of people. A banner has been placed at the entrance gate of hanging bridge.
The 254-m-long hanging bridge was built in 2006 and has a capacity of 1,500. Due to lack of maintenance, it came down to 600, and now 200. The connecting road on both sides of the hanging bridge will also remain closed for two days as the repairs start on Tuesday. If the work is not completed within two days, the shutdown period may be extended. An expert team from Kolkata visited the spot on Monday.
Cuttack Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani said: “A technical committee visited the spot and will submit a report. The repair starts tomorrow. In view of restoration and security, movement of devotees will be shut for two days.”
“It is a suspension bridge. We are monitoring it thoroughly,” said expert team member engineer Ashok Basa.
THE NAGABALI BRIDGE
Meanwhile, the Rayagada district administration has also closed the hanging bridge over Nagabali River. The 151-metre-long bridge was built in 2011 and is a major tourist attraction.
In five years, 33 tourists have died at the spot. District Collector Swadhadev Singh said because of such incidents, the bridge was shut a month ago. It will be opened after repairs are completed.
Rayagada Collector Swadhadev Singh said: “There have been several accidents in the area. The expert team has expressed concern over it and submitted a report. We will take a decision on reopening it based on engineers’ input.”
Inputs from Dusmant Behera and Gajmohan Garadia
Read all the Latest India News here