A bridge too far

A bridge too far
Highlights

The century-old Jagannadhapuram Bridge, one of the earliest landmarks of Kakinada, is now scarily being referred to as the “Suicide Bridge” because it is no longer serving the purpose for which it was built, while the authorities have complicated matters by restricting its use.

The century-old Jagannadhapuram Bridge, one of the earliest landmarks of Kakinada, is now scarily being referred to as the “Suicide Bridge” because it is no longer serving the purpose for which it was built, while the authorities have complicated matters by restricting its use.

Once described as a ‘jewel’ of Kakinada, this cantilever bridge was constructed across “Upputeru” (in local parlance) or the ‘Salt Creek’, which leads to the Bay of Bengal. It has footwalks(nearly 8-foot-wide) on either side and vantage points for sight-seeing. Although over 100 years old, it does serve the needs of Kakinada urbanites as some of the traffic continues through this bridge.

However, some time back the authorities stepped in to restrict use of the bridge, while prohibiting the movement of heavy vehicles. The government constructed a bridge parallel to it, called the NTR Varadhi. When the old bridge was constructed, Jagannadhapuram was a separate village. The Britishers made it possible by spending only Rs 20 lakh.

Alas! The jewel of Kakinada has now turned into a suicide point for people who are vexed with life for various reasons. The two viewpoints are very easy to climb. One can jump from it exactly into the middle of Upputeru to end their lives. Here, the Upputeru looks shallow, but its depth varies from 15 feet to 20 feet. The average depth here is 10 feet. So, those who want to end their lives are coming to this bridge as an easier option.

In recent years, suicides have increased, going by official records. According to the One Town Police, in the month of October alone, five people ended their lives by jumping off from this bridge.

The One Town Police has written a letter to the Roads and Buildings Department to set up a mesh wall or a net to prevent people from taking the extreme step as well as to protect people from accidentally falling into the Upputeru. However, the plan remains on paper. Troubled souls precisely want that!

By Srikanth Peri

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