After a long wait, the tender for the construction of a bridge across the Pulicat lake to connect a small island with five hamlets, including Pasiyavaram, with the mainland has been floated. The 1,032-m bridge will have 20 spans, be two lanes wide and cost ₹18.2 crore to construct.
“The tenders will be opened in February and, hopefully, we expect the contractor to commence work in March. Residents of Sathankuppam, Edamanikuppam, Vairavankuppam, Edamani Colony and Pasiyavaram have been waiting for this bridge for a long time and since the island is located in the middle of a reserved forest, the processesinvolved were innumerable. But we managed to obtain all required permissions,” said an official in the Highways Department.
The facility will take off some 800 m ahead of Pulicat town on the Thachur Kootu Road-Pulicat Road and land at Pasiyavaram.
Residents have been taking boats or walking for over a kilometre across the lake due to lack of connectivity. Pulicat panchayat president Malathi Saravanan said that every year children lose attendance during the monsoon. “There have been instances of boats capsizing. Since the residents are primarily fishers, they have to come to the Pulicat market to sell their catch. And it is a difficult for women to wade through the waters carrying their baskets,” she said.
Durai Mahendran, who welcomed the construction of the bridge, said that it would come in very handy in case of emergencies. “There have been occasions when residents have had to carry women for deliveries and reach Pulicat town and then take a vehicle to Ponneri, which is 18 km away or to Chennai GH, which is 55 km away. Several people have died due to the delay in treatment. We hope the government also appoints a doctor at the Pulicat hospital, round the clock. We don’t even have a private clinic that provides treatment,” he said.