Friday, 7 August 2015

Bridge across the river Cauvery, Tiruchirapalli - British legacy

Truchirapalli city Tamil Nadu. old narrow iron-girder bridge .en.wikipedia.org

 Above image:Tiruchirapalli city Tamil Nadu. New bridge across the cauvery on the left; old narrow iron-girder bridge on the right. The bridge connects the temple town of Srirangam and other towns beyond.

The  rulers of India, in the olden days, built roads and bridges near their seat of power for movement of people, produce and military. Only after the arrival of the British, there had been major improvements  between 1780 and 1840 in roads connecting towns and cities, particularly to move their military equipments and men.The concept of GT roads (Grand Trunk Roads) was introduced by them after 1833. Subsequent introduction of the railways improved the overall transportation conditions across India that facilitated mass movement of people  and  goods from one region to another.  Mind you, the British improved the transportation in India not to help the natives, but to take the products to the nearest harbor for export to England.  As a matter of fact, the British built the railways for their benefits. The mark-up on the cheap exports was way high  and the East India company wanted to keep their level of revenue at a reasonably good level.So the British kept India as a source of revenue for them a sort of  proverbial hen that lays golden eggs  till  they left the shores of India on August 15, 1947.

There is an historical  narrow old iron girder bridge across the river Cauvery in the City of Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, S. India. This bridge, now not in use, is being neglected by the corporation authorities for the simple reason that there is  a  broader and  modern bridge parallel to the old one built several years ago. The old bridge, connecting the temple island of Srirangam, was narrow and could not handle heavy automobile traffic that grew along with the city population.  Since the opening of the new bridge, the old bridge has been neglected and the authorities do not even  carry out basic maintenance work on the bridge such as repairs on the pillars, painting, etc. Because of wanton negligence, at many places the solid iron girders  show rusting and the bridge is slowly losing it strength and beauty. If further neglected, gradually it may fall apart over a period of time unless the authorities concerned take appropriate action and see to it this historical bridge built during the Raj is preserved for the future generation.


Tiruchirapalli, T.N, Old iron girder bridge, built by the British.in.worldmapz.com

The younger generation, may not be aware that the iron bridge is a fine example of British engineering and the huge cast-iron girders used in the bridge were imported from England for construction. The bridge was designed and built by Captain Edward Lawford  of the British Army in 1849, 98 years before India became an independent country.

On the side of the bridge there is a memorial plaque to four officers of the Madras Army who served historically in the war between Chanda Sahib and the East India company during  the defense of Trichinopoly (anglicized spelling) between,1752 and 1754 under Captain Robert Clive,(who laid the foundation   for the British empire in Bengal- 1764)   Here  Clive led the British forces in support of Nawob of Arcot Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah against Chanda Sahib (who was not on good terms with the Nawob of Arcot), backed by the French Army, which was led by Governor General Joseph François Dupleix (January 1697 – November 1763). After a prolonged siege, the British came out victorious. This unique historical old bridge across the river Cauvery is a mute spectator  of the hey days of the British power in this part of India and its legacy.  So, it is imperative that this bridge  should be preserved at any cost by the authorities concerned for our posterity.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauvery_Bridge