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Coming soon: New bridge to crossover India's dangerous rivers

July 22, 2014 14:15 IST

Coming soon: New bridge to crossover India's dangerous rivers

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Shishir Prashant

The Defence Research and Development Organisation has designed a low-cost bridge, which can be used by civilians to cross small streams, rivulets and rivers. The technology will be especially useful to people in Uttarakhand. According to a rough estimate, nearly 500 small bridges were washed away by the floods last year in the state.

Rajagopala Chidambaram, the principal scientific adviser to the government, inaugurated the first low-cost bridge developed by the DRDO on the river Asan at Shuklapur village. He said, “I am glad that the DRDO is ready to offer such technology free of cost.”

Till now, DRDO has been developing only assault bridges which were being used by the army.

DRDO scientists said they were ready to offer the technology of the low-cost bridge to the non-government organisations and corporates free under its corporate social responsibility programme.

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Image: A man crosses a rope bridge over the Alaknanda river during rescue operations in Govindghat in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand during the 2013 floods.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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Shishir Prashant

Costing Rs 6.5 lakh, the 13.5-metre prefabricated steel bridge can be put into use within two hours.

Dr S Guru Prasad, director, research and development establishment wing of DRDO, said, “This is basically a modular bridge which can be taken anywhere in mountainous areas. Its man-portable launching system allows the bridge to be constructed from the near-bank without any access to the far-bank.”

The purpose to develop a low-cost bridge came soon after last year’s deluge in the state. Chidambaram rang up Anil P Joshi, a social activist, who runs a Dehradun-based NGO, Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation, after seeing the media reports on the devastation.

“Basically, we want to help Uttarakhand by developing low-cost bridges which can be used by the affected people,” Chidambaram had told Joshi. DRDO developed the technology within a year. Prasad said DRDO is now ready to help civilians directly by developing new technologies. “We can develop technologies, which can be used by civilians. We want to reach [out] directly to society through our CSR programme,” added Prasad.

 


Image: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel rescue stranded people across a flooded river after heavy rains in Uttarakhand.
Photographs: Reuters

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