“One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it.”
(The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957)
Lt Col Nicholson’s memorable dialogue from the cult Hollywood movie rings through the 900-metre span of a bridge across the Gurupriya reservoir in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, a Maoist hotbed where Left-leaning insurgents hold sway in pockets of the impoverished area. Inaugurated last week, an incredible 36 years after it was conceived, the bridge is expected to end the isolation of a cluster of 150-odd villages in what is unofficially referred to as the “area of darkness”. The government and security forces hope the bridge will help them make the decisive push to the Maoist strongholds. The “war”, it appears, is finally ending in one of Odisha’s most remote areas.
Golapi Khinchari, 35, can barely...