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Mrunal Manmay Dash

People commuting on the National Highway- 326 between Malkangiri and Motu in the southern Odisha district of Malkangiri were stranded near MV-7 village on Friday after a raging Tamsha river submerged a bridge on the Highway cutting off Motu from the district headquarters.

As per reports, heavy overnight downpour caused flash flood in the river causing the bridge on the highway go underwater. Communication on the road was cut off in the process.

However, the locals were not surprised at all. They have been witnessing the disaster years on during monsoon with no solution in sight. Even a single spell of rain makes the river water flow over the bridge defeating the very purpose of its construction.

Locals alleged the problem is occurring because of the faulty design of the bridge. The low ground clearance of the bridge makes it vulnerable to flooding even in case of minor rise in the height of the river water during monsoon, they said.

A resident of MV-7 said, “Last evening I had gone to Malkangiri for some work, but I cannot return home now because the bridge which is overflowing with river water.”

“The government should have made the structure a little higher. Anyways, there is still time for the administration to mend ways and make it a little higher so that it becomes motorable during the rains,” he added.

Similarly a teacher who was stuck at the same bridge since morning said, “My school is 25 km away from here. I have been waiting here since the last two hours and I am late for my duty. This is a common spectre here and I am not surprised. River water regularly flows over the bridge with even the slightest of rains owing to its height,” she said.

Officials of the Malkangiri district administration were unavailable for comment.

However, the question remains if the bridge was a result of negligence by the government or engineering lapses.

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