Locals alleged that thousands of people, including students, government officials, local businessmen and private company employees have been crossing the river everyday with a boat taking great risk of life.
In last three years, a total of 17 people, including eight children, drowned in the river, while they were trying to cross the river with help of a boat rowing by them.
KM Ismail Hossain, a villager of Merung in Dighinala upazila of Khagrachhari district, said: “The Mainee River is the only way to connect Khagrachhari district with Rangamati.”
He said: “Though local government representatives are very much aware about the causalities caused due to lack of the bridge and they had expressed condolence to death families, didn’t take any initiative to construct a bridge over the river to ease the sufferings of people.”
The river is adjacent to eastern side of Merung Bazar under Dighinala upazila in Khagrachhari district. There is a road in both sides of the river but that remains disconnect due to a bridge, claimed locals.
Rahman Kabir Ratan, chairman of Merung union council of Dighinala upazila, said: “Thousands locals including villagers of 11 villages of Dighinala upazila have been suffering a lot due to absence of a bridge over Mainee River. Most of the villagers are not able to communicate with Dighinala upazila headquarters during rainy season.”
“We have submitted applications to concerned authorities of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Roads and Highways Department (RHD) and Khagrachhari Hill District Council (KHDC) to construct a bridge.”
Nur Hossain, villager of Hazachhara of the upazila, alleged: “Elderly man Ledu Mia, died after falling from the lone boat in Mainee River few months ago. We rescued his body from Boroitala in Bagaichari upazila in Rangamati district after 12 days of the incident.”
Claiming that absence of bridge caused huge loss to the local farmers he said: “It has become very difficult to us to sell our agricultural products to outside markets during rainy season.”
Hossain said:“A bridge can change the fate of thousands of villagers of two separate upazila of Khagrachhari and Rangamati hill districts and can also change the socio-economic condition of the people.”
Muhammad Wahiduzzaman, deputy commissioner of Khagrachhari, said: We have known about the sufferings of locals and I have already written a letter to concerned ministry to take a project to construct a 120-140 meter-long bridge over the river.”