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Dhaka Tribune

People suffer as Sitarampur bridge not opened in 3 months

Update : 28 Mar 2015, 06:34 PM

The Sitarampur bridge in Narail is yet to be opened to public, though its construction ended three months ago.

But public suffering on the Narail-Benapole-Khulna-Dhaka-Gopalganj road continues to rise as buses, trucks and other transports still move on the bumpy road built temporarily beside the bridge.

Crushed stones have been placed to block the bridge’s entrance and a banner put up nearby reads: The bridge cannot be opened as the contractor has not been paid in full.

Shahin Ahmed, a bus driver who drives on Narail-Jessore and Narail-Khulna routes, said it is risky to drive on the makeshift road which remains in a very poor condition. “There have been several road accidents here.”

Another bus driver Zakir said tailbacks are commonplace in the area as the bridge has not yet been opened. 

“The problem has been there for three years since construction began,” helper of the bus, Robiul Islam, said.

The bridge, a key structure in the country’s southwestern road transport system, was supposed to be completed in one and a half years but was finally done in nearly three years. 

Construction began in January 2012 when the old bridge collapsed and was expected to end in July 2013. The deadline was extended twice and the contractor said the Tk2,82,31,000 bridge was finally completed on December 4 last year.    

Shirin Sultana, a first-year student at Narail Government Victoria College, said passengers and commuters were still facing troubles even though the bridge was ready to be opened to traffic.

Trucker Arman said the makeshift road beside the bridge is steep and driving on it involves peril. “Trucks laden with goods can overturn anytime on the road.”  

Contractor of the bridge, Wahiduzzaman, claimed that the Roads and Highways Department had not yet paid the total construction bill.

He also alleged that executive engineer of the department’s Narail office was delaying the payment. 

But the executive engineer, Taposhi Das, said the contractor failed to complete construction on time which led to some difficulties.

“The contractor has been paid Tk1.12 crore in two instalments and the higher authorities have been informed of the remaining amount. But now the contractor is deliberately making people suffer by not opening the bridge.” 

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