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Friday, December 2, 2022

Padma Shri Awardee Girish Bharadwaj connected rural India with over 127 eco-friendly bridges

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The story of Girish Bharadwaj, who built over 127 eco-friendly bridges, is inspiring. He has selflessly built these bridges to connect Indian villages.

Covid-19 has taught us how important it is to maintain contact with others and the outside world even while we stay at home. Even in today’s world, there are parts of India that are isolated from the mainland or cities.  It may be difficult for the urban population to imagine a scenario in which people cannot freely travel, but one man has dedicated himself to changing this.

Girish Bharadwaj, also known as Setu Bandhu or the Bridge Man of India, has built over 127 low-cost, environmentally friendly bridges to connect the villages. Girish, a mechanical engineer by trade, was working in his father’s workshop, where he repaired farm machinery.He began developing a prototype with the assistance of a friend.

Without a blueprint, they built a 50-meter-long bridge out of wooden slats, wire ropes, and steel rods. This resulted in Girish building the first-ever bridge across the Payaswini river at Arambur in Southern Karnataka in 1989. Girish then continued to build bridges and solve people’s problems.

He also constructed a 290-meter bridge in Hukkeri, Belgaum district, Karnataka, which was the longest bridge built in 1998. Girish worked for humanity as a whole and never discriminated against any caste, creed, or religion in his work.

In 2007, an incident occurred that demonstrated to society that Girish’s sole goal is to serve humanity. He was working on a project that required him to build a hanging bridge across a large lake in Laknavaram village, Warangal district, Telangana. The area where he had to build the bridge was under Naxal control. Girish could see a massive challenge ahead of him, but he was only concerned with the many people who would benefit from this bridge. Despite all threats, Girish persisted with his work for four years, and the end result astounded everyone in the area, including the Naxals. Everyone was filled with gratitude for Setu Bandhu and extolled him endlessly.

Girish worked for the state home guards for 24 years. His work has taken him to a number of island countries, where people have benefited from his expertise.

Padma Shri Girish Bharadwaj has received numerous awards and recognitions. Character is formed through experience, and personality is formed through work. Girish Bharadwaj has nothing to gain from what he is doing. However, nothing compares to the amount of convenience, relief, and joy that his  eco-friendly bridges have brought into the lives of the villagers.

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