Almost a year after Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) founder VG Siddhartha took his life by jumping from the Netravati Bridge into the river in Mangaluru, authorities have begun work on constructing a 'fencing barrier'.
The construction work began on Saturday after Mangaluru South MLA Vedavyas laid the foundation stone for the fencing work.
Soon after the incident involving VG Siddhartha in July 2018, residents demanded CCTV cameras, police patrolling in the area, and fencing work to be taken up. It was only this year the city authorities set the plan in motion.
Mangaluru MLA UT Khader had written a letter to Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari seeking an increase in the height of the railings along the bridge and installation of CCTV cameras.
â€śThe 900-m-long bridge across the Netravati, near the river mouth, has become a spot for people to end their lives. It was distressing and disheartening to see the loss of lives of several persons, including that of Siddhartha,â€ť he had written in the letter.
The fence will be constructed for up to 800 metres on either side of the bridge at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, allotted by the Mangalore Urban Development Authority (MUDA).
The bridge en-route National Highway (NH)-66 connecting Kerala and Karnataka has seen similar incidents earlier. It gained notoriety in 2019 after the 60-year-old business tycoon allegedly ended his life on July 29 last year. After Siddharthaâ€™s death, over a dozen such similar incidents followed.
Mohammed (35), a fisherman in the area near the bridge has been responding to rescue calls for over 20 years now. He says that there were as many as seven incidents since the lockdown was put in place over the coronavirus outbreak. In one such incident, Mohammed along with six other fishermen, managed to rescue a local resident named Nishant who jumped into the river on May 25. However, Nishant succumbed in the government hospital in Bantwal.
Following this incident, a 28-year-old man sent police officails in Mangaluru into a tizzy after he went missing leaving behind his bike and belongings on the Netravathi Bridge on June 8. However, two days later the man resurfaced in Shivamogga and informed officials that he abandoned the idea of jumping into the river after reconsidering his decision to end his life.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional suppport to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 amd and 7 pm)
Aasara offers support to inidviduals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.
Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)