Pics: Umesh Marpalli
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi (HB)
Udupi, Mar 18: The long-awaited Malpe-Padukere bridge was inaugurated by minister for fisheries, and sports and youth service Pramod Madhwaraj here on Saturday, March 18.
Prior to the inauguration, a procession was taken from Ayyappa Swamy Temple in Malpe to the new bridge,
Addressing the gathering, minister Pramod said, "I feel fortunate to inaugurate the bridge. Now Padukere villagers will get relief from crossing the sea by boats. BJP leader, the late Dr V S Acharya who was a minister from here, and former Udupi MLA Raghupati Bhat a put much effort into this project during their terms. The foundation stone for the bridge was laid on August 29, 2013.
"In May 2013, I became MLA for Udupi and got to work on this bridge, but the government did not allot funds under the Nagarothana in the first budget. I raised a question regarding this with the government. Within a short time, CM Siddaramaiah announced Rs 1,000 crore for various development works, because of which the work on the bridge construction gathered speed," he said.
He further said, "We plan to develop Padukere beach into one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, considering that Malpe is a tourist place. I will hold a meeting with deputy commissioner soon to discuss about Padukere beach development."
Speaking about the new bridge, he said, "According to the first project plan, the width of the bridge was estimated at 4.25 meter with single lane. Then the project was redesigned, and the width of the intermediate lane was increased to 5.25 meter. Hence the whole process got stuck at one point and the work got delayed."
He also proposed three government buses for Malpe-Padukere and said that they would be launched shortly. "A meeting will be convened at the RTA, where I will discuss with the RTA officer about granting permits."
Regarding the state budget, he said, "Subsidy for diesel has been increased from Rs 120 crore to Rs 157 crore. The Karnataka government has announced bigger subsidy for 3,600 boats, as compared to other states. Those who have not gotten diesel subsidy and certificates for boats, will get them from April 1 onwards. Nearly Rs 337 crore has been announced for fisheries in the current state budget," said Pramod.
He also said that a new modern bus stand will come up at Malpe soon.
The construction of Malpe-Padukere bridge was first mooted by Annayyya Kundar four decades back.
The initial project cost was Rs 13 crore, but after the redesign, the estimation was increased to Rs 16.91 crore, including additional amount Rs 3.41 crore, which was reserved under SFC grant 2015-16 and Amrit Mahotsav project. In the days leading to the inauguration, former MLA Raghupati Bhat had demanded that the project be completed in 15 days. Pramod Madhwaraj, who later inspected the bridge, assured that it would be opened in a matter of 24 days.
Approach roads built at a cost of Rs 1 crore was inaugurated on the same occasion.
Meenakshi Madhav Bannanje, president, CMC Udupi, Sandhya Tilakraj, vice-president, CMC, Prashant Amin, councillor, Kola ward, Vijay Kundar, councillor, Malpe central ward, Satish Amin Padukere, president, Malpe-Padukere bridge in-charge committee, Narasimha Murthy, president, town planning authority, Janardhan Thonse, zilla panchayat member, Ganesh Nergi, nominated member for CMC, Shobha Kakkunje, Anand C Kundar, proprietor, Geethanand Foundation, Jagadish Bolur, managing director, Yojaka India Pvt Ltd, Mangaluru and others were present.
Interestingly, both Congress and BJP put up banners of their respective leaders at the venue, claiming credit for the project.