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Kerala Farmer Finds Unique Solution to Cross River

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They say necessity is the mother of invention. This story here looks like a classic example of the saying. Minchinaka is a tiny village on the banks of river Varada in the border of Kasargod. Krishna Bhat owns about three and a half acres of land on the either side of the river. His family owns areca nut and coconut trees just like others in the village.

Every rainy season, a couple of areca tree trunks are split vertically and laid flat across the river. This ‘sanka’ or little bridge costs them around ten thousand rupees and Bhat’s family has been bearing the cost every year since they need it more than anyone to move workers, fertilizers, crops and everything else from one end to another. Students and other villagers also use this bridge to cross over the river. Clusters of villages on either side have this as their main path. During heavy rains, this bridge would either submerge in the swollen river or get washed away in the currents many a times.

Bheemesh, Krishna Bhat’s son wanted a permanent solution for this problem. An automobile diploma holder himself, Bheemesh once attended a Krishi Mela (Agricultura Fair) in Puttur and looking at the various technological innovations to help agriculture, he thought of an innovative idea of a ropeway. He then contacted Sunil B Lakkuni, who has been teaching mechanical engineering for eight years at Vivekananda College in Puttur. The duo along with two others framed a plan to build a ropeway across Varada.

They made a list of things they would need to build the ropeway and went to the scrap market in Mangaluru. There they searched for a specific metal – the one that’s used in construction of ships. This type of iron won’t rust when exposed to water and stays strong all the while. They got all the materials needed and started setting up the ropeway.

The said set-up has two pulleys. One is static, the other on motion. The ropeway is supported by two tall pillars on the either ends. A metal basket helps people and material move to either sides.

“Two workers would take one entire day to shift 120 to 150 bags of areca nut. We shifted this quantity in just two hours using this ropeway. We also face lot of labour shortage here. So it’s a complete win-win situation for us” said Krishna Bhat.

Now the villagers also happily use the ropeway, so do the students. The total cost of the ropeway was Rs 60,000. “This is much better. Because we had to spend 10,000 every year for the makeshift bridge. People happily sit in the basket and cross the bridge. They pull the rope themselves to move. Government never helped us until now even after multiple requests. So we found a permanent solution” said Bheemesh.

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