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Kerala Farmer Finds Permanent Solution To The Problem of Bridges Being Washed Away Every Year By Floods

A farmer in Kerala's Minchinaka village came up with a permanent solution to the problem of bridges being washed away every year by floods.

Chintu Das
Areca Nut Farming
Areca Nut Farming

The phrase "necessity is the mother of invention" is often used. This story appears to be a classic example of the phrase. Minchinaka is a small village on the banks of the Varada River on the Kasargod border. On both sides of the river, Krishna Bhat owns around three and a half acres of land. His family, like others in the village, possesses areca nut and coconut trees. 

A few areca tree trunks are split vertically and set flat across the river every rainy season. This 'sanka,' or small bridge, costs them roughly ten thousand rupees every year, and Bhat's family has been bearing the cost because they need it the most to carry workers, fertilisers, crops, and everything else from one end to the other. This bridge is also used by students and local villagers to cross the river. This is the major path for clusters of communities on either side. This bridge would frequently sink in the swelling river or be washed away in the currents after heavy storms. 

Krishna Bhat's son, Bheemesh, desired a long-term solution to the problem. Bheemesh, who holds an automobile diploma, once went to a Krishi Mela (Agriculture Fair) in Puttur, where he saw numerous technical advances to aid agriculture and came up with the radical concept of a ropeway. He then reached out to Sunil B Lakkuni, who has been teaching mechanical engineering at Vivekananda College in Puttur for the past eight years. The two devised a plan to construct a ropeway across Varada with the help of two others. 

They compiled a list of everything they'd need for the ropeway and headed to Mangaluru's scrap market. They were looking for a certain metal, one that is utilised in ship construction. When exposed to water, this form of iron does not rust and remains robust. They gathered all of the necessary materials and began constructing the ropeway. 

There are two pulleys in this set-up. One is stationary, while the other is in motion. The ropeway is supported on both ends by two tall pillars. A metal basket aids in the movement of persons and materials to either side. 

"Shifting 120 to 150 bags of areca nut would take two workers an entire day. Using this ropeway, we were able to move this quantity in just two hours. We also have a significant labour shortage here. As a result, it's a full win-win situation for us," Krishna Bhat explained. 

The residents and students alike now enjoy using the ropeway. The ropeway cost a total of Rs 60,000. "This is a huge improvement because we had to spend Rs 10,000 a year on the homemade bridge. People are content to sit in the basket as they cross the bridge. To move, they pull the rope themselves. Despite several inquiries, the government has never assisted us. So we came up with a long-term answer," Bheemesh explained. 

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