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  • Writer's pictureAmit Sharma (Edspired.Tech)

Building a Bridge to Hope: The Story of the Gurupriya Bridge in Malkangiri, Odisha a symbol of hope

Building a Bridge to Hope: The Story of the Gurupriya Bridge in Malkangiri, Odisha
Gurupriya Setu, Odisha

A 34-year saga of perseverance and engineering brilliance

For 34 years, the residents of 151 villages in Malkangiri district, Odisha, lived in isolation. Cut off from the mainland by the Chitrakonda reservoir, their lives were defined by limited access to basic necessities and opportunities. But in 2018, their world changed forever with the inauguration of the Gurupriya bridge, a 910-meter lifeline spanning the reservoir and reconnecting them to the rest of the state.

From Dream to Reality: Overcoming Challenges

The journey to build the Gurupriya bridge was a long and arduous one. The project was first conceived in 1986 but was repeatedly stalled due to technical challenges, the remoteness of the location, and the ever-present threat of Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The initial tender in 1982 was only for Rs 8 crore, but the final cost ballooned to Rs 187 crore, highlighting the immense difficulties involved in the construction.

Multiple contractors backed out due to the Maoist threat, and the first Border Security Force (BSF) camp was established in 2015 to ensure the safety of workers. New Delhi initially sanctioned only Rs 45 crore out of the total Rs 172 crore required, and the Indian government's demonetization drive further hampered progress by creating a cash shortage for daily payments.

Engineering Marvel: Conquering the Balimela Reservoir

The Gurupriya bridge stands tall on 22 spans, with an average water depth of 20 meters and extending into a deep channel zone reaching depths of 28 meters. The topography and the river's height, which was 6 meters more than the maximum level for capping piles and constructing piers, added to the complexity.

Royal Infraconstru Ltd., the company entrusted with the project, faced these challenges head-on. They employed innovative engineering techniques and maintained strict safety standards, commissioning a third-party quality audit through the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI). This ensured that the bridge met all safety regulations, earning the trust of the communities it aimed to serve.

A Bridge to a Brighter Future

The Gurupriya bridge is more than just a piece of infrastructure; it is a symbol of hope and progress for the people of Malkangiri. It has opened up access to education, healthcare, markets, and essential services, boosting the economic and social development of the region. It has also brought a sense of security and belonging to the residents who were once isolated from the mainland.

The story of the Gurupriya bridge is a testament to the power of human resilience and determination. It is a reminder that even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome through collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others. It stands as a beacon of hope for other remote communities in India and around the world, demonstrating that progress is possible, even in the face of adversity.


The Gurupriya bridge is a remarkable achievement that will continue to benefit generations to come. It is a reminder that infrastructure development is not just about building roads and bridges; it is about connecting people, communities, and dreams. It is a story of human spirit, engineering marvel, and the promise of a better future.


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