Archiver > INDIA-BRITISH-RAJ > 2009-03 > 1236665637

From: "Harshawardhan_Bosham Nimkhedkar" <>
Subject: [INDIA-BRITISH-RAJ] Coonoor's historic Black bridge to be namedafter Manekshaw
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 11:43:57 +0530

Coonoor's historic Black bridge to be named after Manekshaw

9 Mar 2009

COONOOR: Sam Manekshaw, the former chief of the
Indian Army and one of only two Indian army officers
to hold the rank of Field Marshal, is sure to have driven
down the historic Black Bridge' in Wellington when
he was commandant of the defence services staff
college (DSSC) in the 1950s. On Monday, the newly
-reconstructed Black Bridge will be inaugurated and
renamed "Manekshaw Bridge" by Lt. General H.P.S.
Klair, Commandant of the DSSC, in the presence
of Brigadier VP Kashyap, Station Commander,
Wellington, according to official sources.

The patriotism and dynamism of Gen Manekshaw,
who later settled down with his wife near Coonoor,
stand out as a golden chapter in the country's
military history and the renaming is a tribute to
his contribution, defence sources added.

The history of the bridge, which connects the Ooty-
Coonoor road to the Wellington cantonment, can
be traced to 1878. A wooden structure, christened
the Waterloo Bridge', was first constructed over
the Mynala river. It was commonly referred to as
Black Bridge' since it was built of Burmese teak
and painted black.

The bridge was declared unsafe in the 1950s and
repair works were undertaken. The wooden decking
was replaced with a concrete slab in 1963. In July
2005, the bridge was again found unsafe for vehicular
traffic and was demolished completely.

The foundation stone for the reconstruction was laid
by Lt Gen BJ Gupta, VSM, ex-Commandant, DSSC,
on November 29, 2007. A sum of Rs 1.65 crore was
sanctioned to the Military Engineering Service (MES)
for the purpose. Remarkably, thereafter, the construction
of the new bridge has been completed in a record
time of one year and three months.

The Manekshaw Bridge' is expected to mitigate the
hardship of the locals and tourists since it is the only
proper link that Ooty and Aravankadu have with the
cantonment. The bridge was a long-felt need of the
local populace.

Additional details from PTI:

Narrating its history, Station Commandant G Kashyap
said the 'Black Bridge' dated to 1858 when construction
of a bridge across the Mynala river began on the
Udhagamandalam-Coonoor Road. It was finally
constructed in 1878 and christened 'Waterloo' bridge.
But it was referred to as 'Black Bridge', he said, adding
there were a couple of theories on how the name
came about.

One was that the Mynala river marked the limit for the
natives and since the 'darker skinned Indians' were
not allowed to use the bridge, it was called 'Black
Bridge.' "The second says the name was a natural
fallout of the fact that it was made of Burma Teak
and was painted black in colour," he said.

In 1964, the bridge was found unsuitable for traffic
and teak wood decking was replaced by reinforced

In 2008, existing abutments and beams were found
in a state of excessive wear. Though Military Engineer
Services was not generally known for constructing
bridges, they accepted it and work was sanctioned
in the first quarter of 2007. Work commenced in
December 2007 after demolition of the existing bridge,
he said.

See image of the bridge in this news report, dated Friday,
Nov 23, 2007, at

--- Harshawardhan_Bosham Nimkhedkar

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