Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

A day after the horrific incident of the collapse of a cable suspension bridge in Morbi, Gujarat in which 140 people were killed, prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped at Dhabaleswar shrine in Cuttack for carrying out the repair work of the hanging bridge, informed Athagarh Sub Collector on Monday.

Earlier today, the local administration at Athagarh reduced the capacity of the suspension bridge to the Dhabaleswar shrine. Only 200 devotees were allowed to travel through the bridge at a time. Following that the district administration decided to shut the hanging bridge for one day (on Tuesday) in order to undertake a thorough safety inspection.

However, in this holy Kartik month and ‘Panchuka’ time, every year lakhs of devotees visit the Dhabaleswar temple. To reach the shrine, some devotees use the suspension bridge, and some use boats. But, due to the earlier restrictions imposed to allow only 200 devotees at a time on the bridge, it is not possible to ferry a large number of devotees by boat. 

Even though estimating the time required for inspecting and repairing the hanging bridge is not possible, the local administration clamped section 144 until further notice prohibiting devotees from visiting the famous shrine.

“Prohibitory orders have been issued to shut down the bridge completely. The administration has clamped Section 144 as inspection work will be carried out. Over 40 to 50,000 devotees throng at the shrine every day. It is impossible to ferry all by boat. No devotees will be allowed to visit Dhabeleswar until further notice,” informed Hemant Swain, Sub-Collector, Athagarh.

The repairing work will begin immediately after the team of experts inspects the bridge on Tuesday.