Girish Bharadwaj- A Basketful of Sunshine

Various parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha are connected to the mainlands through a network of bridges. This was possible because of the ‘Bridge Man’ Girish Bharadwaj. Known for the construction of low-cost suspension bridges, he has constructed around 127 hanging bridges across streams and rivers so as to help people enter the mainstream from the remotest areas.

Image result for girish bharadwajBorn to B Krishna Bhat and Lakshmiamma, Girish began his journey by constructing a 55 meter long bridge near across river Cauvery in Nisargadhama near Kushalanagar. He resided in Arambur in Aletty village of Sullia and graduated in mechanical engineering. With humble beginning of manufacturing agricultural imlements and gobar gas equipment to make life easier for the rural folks, he later shifted towards constructed of hanging bridges, thereby never looking back.

Girish Bharadwaj has always believed in a respectful and friendly approach in attaining his goals. In 2007, when he was asked to construct a hanging bridge in Laknavaram, village of Warangal under Naxal dominance, he decided to go ahead and completed the project in a span of mere four months. The ‘Sea Change’ in the ‘living atmosphere’ made the naxals express deep gratitude to him. This is a fine example of conquering the hearts of ‘armed men who were considered to be a threat to the society’.

The 68-year-old has bagged several applauds and appreciations, including DK District Rajyothsava Award in 2011. However, the latest golden feather on his hat is the ‘Padma Shri’ for social work given by the Union Government during 2017 and he attributes this success to his ‘Ayashilpa’ team. He said, “I am really happy at this recognition and I share this award with my team members - my employees. Though I design these bridges it is my team which undertakes the complete construction work. I am really happy constructing bridges. There are many villages where people struggle to travel due to the absence of bridge. The happiness I see in the eyes of the villagers after the construction of the bridge motivates me to work more.”