Disconnected by fatal landslides on June 13, the road link between Khagrachhari and Rangamati districts have not been restored yet, causing immense suffering to the locals.
Sources said because of heavy rainfall, at least three sections of the 63km Khagrachhari-Rangamati road is inundated in water. Moreover, due to the landslides, the road is covered in muds and potholes; commuting is particularly risky through 10-12 points between Mahalchhari, Khagrachhari and Manikchhari, Rangamati.
Locals in both the districts complained that some unscrupulous CNG-run autorickshaw and motorcycle drivers, as well as boatmen, were taking ill-advantage of the crisis by charging high fare.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday, several commuters at Fishery Ghat in Mahalchhari said they were being extorted as there were no other means of communication other than boats.
Also Read- Chittagong-Bandarban road link resumes
“The bus fare to Rangamati was Tk70. But now, the boatmen are charging us Tk200,” said Makbul Hossain.
Sudarshan Chakma said: “I have to take boat rides twice every day to go to work, which takes much longer than usual. Before, it took an hour to go to the office, now it takes three.”
Commuters at Kesing in Mantula Para, Rangamati said CNG-run autorickshaws were charging double fare for a single trip.
[caption id="attachment_72216" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
An engine boat full of local commuters leaves Mahalchhari, Khagrachhari for Rangamati on July 1, 2017 Dhaka Tribune
“Before, the autorickshaw fare for a trip to Khagrachhari from Rangamati took Tk200, but now it costs Tk500-600 per person. In addition, we have to walk around 4km on the way,” said Bir Bala Tripura.
“It has been 20 days since the road link was snapped, yet the road authorities have taken zero steps to repair the broken parts of the road. Because of this situation, more than 500 families in Manikchhari are facing a lot of inconvenience,” said Bijoy Chakma.
The lack of road connectivity is affecting locals farmers too.
Read More- Landslides latest update: Death toll rises to 161
Uday Sankar Chakma, owner of a fruit orchard in Rangamati, said fruits and vegetables were going to waste because a good number of buyers were unable to come and collect the produce.
“We faced extensive losses due to the landslides and the heavy rains. Whatever we had left is now rotting in the orchards,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
When contacted, Md Emdad Hossain, executive engineer at the Rangamati office of Roads Highways Department, said it would take around 15 days to filled up the cracks and potholes and remove the mud from the road.
“Then, hopefully, light vehicles will be able to use to road,” he added.