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Acting on Morbi tragedy, Odisha shuts down Mahanadi suspension bridge ahead of festivals

The bridge in Odisha was closed down for an indefinite period and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were clamped at the famous Dhabaleswar shrine ahead of the Bada Osha and Kartika Purnima festivals on November 7 and 8.

Vani Mehrotra Edited By: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Published on: November 06, 2022 10:30 IST
Odisha suspension bridge, Odisha cable bridge
Image Source : TWITTER Acting on Morbi tragedy, Odisha govt shuts down Mahanadi suspension bridge

Highlights

  • The action by the authorities was taken after a heavy rush of people was witnessed on the bridge
  • Devotees may try to visit temples using mechanised or country boats, authorities in Odisha said
  • A very large number of devotees are expected to throng the Shiva Shrine using the suspension bridge

The Odisha government has closed down the suspension bridge connecting the Dhabaleswar Shiva shrine on an island in the Mahanadi River to Athagarh of Cuttack district. The action by the authorities was taken after a heavy rush of people was witnessed on the bridge. 

The development comes in the backdrop of the Morbi bridge collapse in Gujarat, which killed more than 135 people. 

The bridge in Odisha was closed down for an indefinite period and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were clamped at the famous Dhabaleswar shrine ahead of the Bada Osha and Kartika Purnima festivals on November 7 and 8.

The authorities have clamped prohibitory orders at the shrine because devotees may try to visit the temple using mechanised or country boats, which may also invite trouble for the government, an official said.

During the above two festivals, a very large number of devotees usually throng the famous Shiva Shrine using the suspension bridge. 

For the last two years, the devotees were not allowed to visit the shrine in view of COVID-19 restrictions and this year, it was expected that a large number of devotees would throng to the temple during the festivals.

The suspension bridge in Odisha was constructed in 2006 and has now become weak.

The local administration has also capped its maximum capacity to 200 persons at a time. However, later they decided to close it down for an indefinite period.

"Looking at the safety of the devotees, we have put these restrictions at Dhabaleswar temple. We have installed a big LED TV near the hanging bridge through which devotees can witness the rituals of the Lord Dhabaleswar through virtual mode," said Cuttack District Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani.

However, the temple priests and devotees are unhappy with the sudden decision of the local administration.

"When the Morbi incident happened, the authority suddenly woke up and clamped Section 144 citing the bridge is weak. If the bridge has become weak, why have they not repaired it earlier or ensured an alternative mode of communication to the temple?" asked Pravat Nalini Mohapatra, a devotee.

Similarly, in a precautionary measure, the Rayagada district administration had closed a suspension bridge over the Nagabali river since September 25 this year after the bridge developed cracks. 

Apart from providing connectivity to several villages, the 151-meter-long suspension bridge constructed over the Nagavali river was a tourist point.

(With inputs from IANS)

Also Read | Morbi bridge collapse: Municipality's Chief Officer suspended days after tragic incident in Gujarat

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