Mr Girish Bharadwaj, popularly known as The Bridgeman of India, is building low-cost suspension bridges to connect several isolated villages with the mainland.
In 1989, the people of Aramburu, a remote village in Dakshina Kannada, approached Girish Bharadwaj, a young graduate of mechanical engineering who was then running a fabrication unit, to find a solution for firmly connecting the village to the mainland. With no expertise in constructing bridges, Bharadwaj hesitated at first, but seeing people’s belief and hope in him, he decided to seek help from his engineering friends, referred to books, and designed a plan for a low-cost hanging bridge over River Payaswini.
A crowd-sourced project, the economical bridge cost INR 2 lakh, less than one-tenth of the average cost of constructing a bridge. Made with just wooden planks, steel ropes, and the villagers’ faith, the bridge caught the attention of a senior government official who was visiting the village and requested Bharadwaj to help the government in connecting several isolated villages with the mainland.
Since then, Girish Bharadwaj has connected over 140 villages in three decades and is now popularly known as Sethu Bandhu and Bridgeman of India. For his contribution to rural empowerment, he has been awarded the Padma Shri in 2017.
Article by Vihita Nevatia, Team ulaunch.