Several thousand people of thirteen villages in Doarabazar upazila in Sunamganj district have been going through unspeakable sufferings for years for want of a concrete bridge over the Chelai River at Hasnabahar Bhanga in the upazila. Every year the residents of the thirteen villages make a makeshift bamboo bridge at their own cost to reach their destinations. People from all walks of life including farmers, traders and students have to cross the bamboo bridge with goods putting their lives at risk. Local people claimed that they have informed the matter to the public representatives several times but no visible steps were taken yet as they got only assurances. Read: 2,000km of roads damaged in Sunamganj, with losses over Tk 1500-cr People of Sultanpur, Noapara, Hazrat Shahjalal Dakhil Madrasha Rasrai, Freedom Fighter Captain Helal Khasru High School under Surma union, Laxmipur union clinic, Erokhai, Banglabazar, Hasnabahar, Boithakhai, Shah Arefin Bazar, Boithakhai Madrasha, Alipur, Muhibur Rahman Manik High School, Sonapur, Nurpur Bazar area have to use the bamboo bridge to reach the district and upazila headquarters. The residents of these areas remained neglected for 51 years as the local administration did not pay any attention to the sufferings of the people. Quamrul Islam, a resident of the upazila, said “Heavy rains have occurred in the upazila for the six months of the year and the roads in the area are in dilapidated condition." Suffering is common for the residents of the thirteen villages as this is the only way to go to the upazila headquarters, he said. On many occasions, a number of patients have died before being taken to the hospital due to a lack of better transport and communication system, said Quamrul. Besides, people from other upazilas of the district feared establishing a relationship with the residents of the upazila for marriage purposes due to the poor condition of communication, he said. Read: No hustle-bustle: Soul goes missing from Khulna Railway Station Abdul Malek, general secretary of Boithakhai Shaharfinbazar committee, said residents of three unions—Surma, Laxmipur and Mannargaon---can easily go to the Sadar upazila headquarters and district town if a concrete bridge is built at Hasanbahar Bhanga point of Chelai River. The farmers of Surma union are the worst sufferers as they have to cross the bamboo bridge risking their lives as the makeshift bridge is on the verge of collapse. Abdul Kadir, a college student of Alipur village, said they cross the bamboo bridge on their bicycle. "Many students fell into the river with their bicycle," he said. Rahmat Ali, a trader of Sultanpur village, said it is too difficult to cross the long bamboo bridge with goods. Abdul Halim, chairman of Surma Union Parishad, said: "We will discuss the matter at our monthly meeting as the people of the union are suffering a lot for want of a concrete bridge at Hasanbahar Bhanga point." Rashedur Rahman, Doarabazar LGED officer, assured that he will investigate it. Dewan Al Tanvir Ashrafi, Doarabazar Upazila chairman said steps will be taken soon to mitigate the sufferings of the people.
A bridge that can ensure an all-season access to both sides of a river can transform the lives of local residents as it improves access to basic services and facilities. But thousands of villagers in Phulbari upazila of Kurigram district have been using a rickety makeshift bridge for over 50 years to cross the Baromasia River as there is no concrete bridge. Authorities have failed to take any initiative to build a concrete bridge over the river since the independence of the country, said aggrieved villagers. They said they do not understand why they cannot have a concrete bridge even after five decades of the country’s independence! Shahadat, 45, a resident of the village, said, “It’s too difficult for us to cross the bridge with heavy goods. Those who ride bicycles have to cross it with a greater caution.” Fed up with the apathy of the authorities, Shahadat said, “It’s clear the administration is least bothered about the problems we face.” He said they have to repair the bamboo-bridge over the river at Nabiul ghat in Shimulbari village every year as it is the only way to reach the upazila headquarters. Children, students and elderly people have to cross the broken bamboo-bridge risking their lives. Many villagers slip into the river or get hurt while crossing the river using the bridge. According to the villagers, two bamboo-bridges were built on the 5-km long Baromasia River and one of them built along Nabiul Ghat has turned risky as it largely got damaged by the recent floods. During a recent visit to the area, the UNB correspondent came to know that the 120-feet bamboo-bridge is in a very bad shape as it has got its different portions broken. Women and children are usually seen crossing the river very crawling while school and college students cross it by bicycles with fear. Read: Mymensingh to get a modern bridge over Brahmaputra
The residents of Jugolika Hill and Puratanbasti, two separate islands in Rangamati district, have been suffering for five decades as there is no bridge over the Kaptai Lake. But their long wait is going to end soon as the government is constructing a concrete bridge over the lake to ensure smooth communications with the two islands and other parts of the hill district. The much-sought bridge is going to be opened to traffic in 2022. Over 3,000 residents of the two islands at Reserve Bazar in Rangamati district have been using boats as their main mode of transportation in the Kaptai Lake as the local authorities were reluctant to take any initiative to construct a much-needed bridge. Read: Mymensingh to get a modern bridge over Brahmaputra But now the government is constructing a Y-shaped splendid concrete bridge spending Tk 17.5 crore which will not only connect the residents of the two islands but also add beauty to the popular tourist spot in the hill district. All the preparations have been taken to inaugurate the bridge in June next, said officials. They said the bridge is going to be a new attraction for tourists for its spectacular ‘Y’ shape. According to them, the people of the area were rehabilitated in Jugolika Hill and Puratan Basti islands during the construction of the Kaptai Lake in 1960 without building any bridge for their smooth communication. Read Metro Rail: The Magic Wand to Improve Dhaka's Transport System Bridges are immensely important as they facilitate the movement of people, enabling them to take their goods to local markets and send their kids to schools through safe crossing. Following the demand of the residents of the two islands, Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing submitted a proposal to the authorities concerned for building a concrete bridge. On February 13, 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the bridge, now a visible reality. Read The terrible road preventing an area's residents from getting married