Hanging bridge proposal to Dubare elephant camp hangs fire

Hanging bridge proposal to Dubare elephant camp hangs fire
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Madikeri: Thousands of tourists everyday visit the Dubare elephant camp near Kushalnagar and during weekends, their number swells up to 8-10...

Madikeri: Thousands of tourists everyday visit the Dubare elephant camp near Kushalnagar and during weekends, their number swells up to 8-10 thousand.

The major attraction of this famous tourist spot is playing in the river Cauvery and a glimpse of elephants. The forest department operates three boats to ferry tourists to the elephant camp. But during summer the water flow decreases in the river and the forest department suspends operation of mechanised boats.

Forest officials say that once a boat was damaged after it dashed against rocks in the river when the water level receded. "We cannot risk damaging other boats in the summer," they said. The residents of Dubare urge the authorities to revive a hanging bridge proposed across the river Cauvery. The district administration has shelved the ambitious project to construct a 110-metre long and 1.8-metre wide hanging bridge that was planned some years ago. The funds that were

sanctioned for the project had been used for Covid relief.

The proposal was submitted by Kodagu Tourism Department to the Forest Department which found it a sound idea a hanging bridge connecting one side of the river to the other would be an added attraction for thousands of tourists.

The proposed hanging bridge was to have three columns — two at the sides and one in the middle — and 1.8 metres wide. The Tourism Department first sent a proposal in 2015-2016 and the estimated cost was Rs 2.35 crore. The estimate was later revised in 2020 to Rs. 4 crore and Rs 1.5 crore was reserved for the purpose but money utilised for Covid relief.

Tourists use rafting boats to reach the elephant camp by paying Rs 50 each to-and-fro, which is on the higher side for 100-metre distance. When contacted, taluk panchayat member C L Vishwa told The Hans India that they urged the district administration and forest department to construct a hanging bridge but to no avail. According to him, many tribal families residing in Dubare face hardship to cross the river during the rainy season.

The construction of a bridge will be helpful for them, too, in addition to attracting more tourists to the area.

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