Sullia: People living in remote areas without access to towns during rainy season in many places across south India remain grateful to one man, Girish Bharadwaj.
Bharadwaj has constructed around 127 hanging bridges across streams and rivers in remotest areas and has helped people living in far-flung areas to enter the mainstream and the mainland.
He has constructed over 91 bridges in Karnataka, 30 in Kerala, 3 each in Andhra and Odisha till date.
Girish Bharadwaj, son of B Krishna Bhat and Lakshmiamma began his journey by constructing a 55 meter long bridge near across river Cauvery in Nisargadhama near Kushalanagar. He followed it up with an 87 meter long bridge across river Payaswini in his hometown Sullia and the 290 meter long bride in Hukkeri of Belagavi district,being the longest, constructed in 1998.
Resident of Arambur in Aletty village of Sullia, Girish graduated in mechanical engineering and started his adventurous journey by manufacturing agricultural implements and gobar gas equipment to make life easier for rural folk. Later he shifted towards construction of hanging bridges and never looked back thereafter with his friendly approach to address people’s problems in villages marooned by floods during rainy season.
Girish Bhardwaj strongly believed in friendly approach in attaining his goals and took to building bridges in the trouble torn world. Girish recollects a touching moment in his life and feels none should be treated as untouchables based on that incident in 2007. He was asked to construct a hanging bridge in Laknavaram village of Warangal district across a large lake. The entire area was under Naxal dominance that time, and Girish was asked to shelve his plans. Undeterred by the threats, Girish took a decision to go ahead and succeeded in completing the entire project within a short span of four months. Astonished by the ‘Sea Change’ in the ‘living atmosphere', teary-eyed locals including Naxals fell at Girish’s feet to express their gratitude. Girish considered it as one of the greatest achievements as he had conquered the hearts of ‘armed men considered threat to society’ through friendship, love and mutual respect. He had overcome forces that were trying to build walls and stall development. In the end, hostile naxals showed innate urge to enter the mainstream.
Gold medals for excellence
Girish Bhardwaj served in state home guards department for 24 years form 1984-2008. During that period he excelled in providing first aid and in training official and staff of Home guards department. Girish was awarded two Gold medals after he stood first in both the fields. Later, he underwent training in fire fighting at Delhi and served as the head of fire services division and donned the role of command officer in Sullia.
In his marvelous journey of touching and changing lives, he bagged several awards and appreciations including DK District Rajyothsava Award in 2011.
Girish made noteworthy contributions as Director in Puttur Industrial Union,Small Industries development bank,Sneha group of Institutions and Vivekananda educational Institution, Vinoba Nagar, Jalsoor.
Girish is also associated with Rotary club for over 3 decades.
Bharadwaj learnt to swim against tides very early in life and went on to become college swimming champion in 1972.
After learning of his achievement Tony,a native of Switzerland and few others from island nation Sri Lanka invited Girish to execute projects of similar nature in their countries. Many others from different countries have evinced interest in Girish’s works over the years.
‘Padma Shri’ for Social work given by Union Government during 2017 is the latest feather in his glorious cap and Girish attributes success to his ‘Ayashilpa’ team.(Aya means steel in Sanskrit and Shilpa means art).
newskarnataka.com congratulates Padma Shri Girish Bhardwaj
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