Rs 55 Lakhs FENCING along Netravathi Bridge to Prevent Suicides RUSTED in 8 Months after Installed. Ask any sensible and educated citizens, nine out of ten will say that fencing along the Netravathi Bridge in order to stop depressed people from jumping off the bridge to commit suicide is totally a dumb and foolish idea. Even though our netas and other authorities may say that suicides have stopped after fencing the bridge, however, there have been quite a few people committing suicides by hanging from ceiling fans and so on. So what are they doing next-close all the wells that people depend on for drinking water and other purposes, or ban the sale of ceiling fans, just because a few people are committing suicides?
Mangaluru: After the completion of the fencing work on all sides of the Nethravati Bridge, Mangaluru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) had installed four CCTV cameras on the two parallel bridges built across the Nethravati on the National Highway 66, and it was inaugurated on 5 March 2021. On second thought, many questioned why even spend money on these CCTV cameras, after the bridge has been totally fenced thereby preventing people from jumping off the bridge? Oh well, the simple reason is that spending taxpayers’ money on unwanted projects is a routine of our administration and civic departments.
With few people ending their lives by jumping from the bridge, the MUDA a year ago had started fencing the bridge and had completed the work with the installation of CCTV’s in March 2021. According to Akbar Pasha, the Assistant Executive Engineer with MUDA, each of the CCTV cameras has a range of 500 meters. The CCTV cameras have been installed in a way to catch the movement on each of the two 1 Km bridges. These CCTV cameras are connected to the police wireless control system at Kankanady Police station. The MUDA has spent Rs 5 lakh for the CCTV installation. Just wondering if someone is really checking the CCTV footage daily?
The main man behind this NOT SO NEEDED project was our beloved MLA Vedavyas Kamath, and many citizens are not happy with such a large amount of money being spent on fencing and on CCTV cameras. Many say that people who want to end their lives out of depression or frustration can find different ways to commit suicide. How this fencing or CCTV cameras could prevent such people from committing suicide is a million-dollar question. And now within eight months, the nearly 800-meter long fencing all along the bridge is rusted, and unless the fence is recoated with protective paint, all the taxpayers’ money put on this project will go down the drain?
Both the bridges, one leading towards Thokkottu from Mangaluru and the other on the return route, from Talapady/Thokkottu have been installed with the protective fencing, at a height of five feet over the protective wall of the bridge. The fencing has been fitted by welding to the iron rods, and at the top of the fencing, a barbed fence has been fitted in order to prevent people from climbing the wall and jumping into the river. It is learnt that the reason for the fence to get rust is due to saline particles in the environment influenced by the presence of the sea, thus iron things get rust very quickly in the coast. Only if the thick coating of suitable protective paint is reapplied again, the fencing could last for years. People feel that the fencing will survive if thick paint is applied to it often.
Why wasn’t the contractor of this project never informed about using the right paint in that kind of situation? is the question many are asking. Even though no suicides have taken place after the fencing was done, there has been an increase in suicides by hanging or jumping into open wells. Are our netas planning to ban ceiling fans since many are committing suicides from hanging from the ceiling fans, or close all the wells in the City because of the increasing suicides? Also with the CCTV cameras being fitted on the fence, the police can keep watch on the activities happening on the bridge. The fence has also served a good purpose in preventing people from throwing garbage into the river- but some who still do the act, many times the garbage gets stuck in the fence?
Seetharam, a resident living very close to the Nethravati Bridge speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Instead of spending all the BIG money on this project of fencing and installing cameras on the bridge, wish our leaders whom we voted into power helped a few families who face danger to their lives when the river overflows during monsoon. Our leaders are only worried about people who wish to die, but they don’t care for people who want to live. Why do people have to jump only from the bridge, I will show the concerned authorities there are many options here, where anyone can come down beside the side of the bridge and jump into the water and end their lives. I only wish these representatives think of us also, as they thought of others”.
A college student commented, “I won’t say much, but this is one of the stupidest ways of wasting peoples’ money by the leaders on projects which don’t serve the entire community. Nothing Less Nothing More, hope our elected leaders think twice before they take up any projects, whether they serve the purpose or not?” Meanwhile, MUDA chairman Ravishankar Mijar speaking to the media has said that the fencing was given undercoating in order to ensure that it does not rust. But because of the direct saline breeze from the sea, it is getting rusty. He said that the fencing will be painted with better paint for long-lasting damage from rust. Until then, let’s keep our fingers crossed?