In 2017, scores of little bridges, and culverts were damaged by severe floods that were witnessed in some upazilas including Kurigram Sadar, causing a collapse of rural communication network
Commuters continue to face immense suffering as several important bridges, and culverts in Kurigram are yet to be repaired or reconstructed, even two years after being damaged by the 2017 floods.
“People somehow managed to get by, reinforcing some broken bits with bamboo through some local initiatives, but passenger, and cargo transport faced a deadlock,” said locals, adding that “We’re frustrated as there is no progress in the reconstruction of the bridges and culverts despite assurances by local LGED office.”
In 2017, scores of little bridges, and culverts were damaged by severe floods that were witnessed in some upazilas including Kurigram Sadar, causing a collapse of rural communication network.
Despite 25 bridges and culverts being reconstructed by LGED over the last two years, some important bridges still remain damaged, and unusable. As a result, school and college students, plus those going to markets are facing commute struggle.
Several villages have become disconnected, while obstruction persists in transportation of emergency ambulances, and goods.
The locals fear an even greater increase in public sufferings for at least another six months as the bridges were not reconstructed before the advent of monsoon.
One of the bridges that suffered extensive damage during the devastating flood in 2017 is the Sanerghat Bridge in Kathalbari union under Kurigram Sadar upazila.
As there is no barricade on either side, the bridge is proving to be particularly risky, and deadly for motorcyclists – many riders met with accidents while trying to cross the bridge, or what’s left of it.
“No initiative has yet been taken to reconstruct the bridge, even after lobbying with the authority over two years,” locals said, alleging that “no effective measures were taken despite the LGED’s repeated assurances of reconstructing the bridge”.
Mojnur Rahman, headmaster of Nefardorga High School, said: “We’ve only one road for our communication. We’re forced to cross thru a bamboo-reinforced bridge risking lives.”
Ahmad Hossain, a nearby resident, said: “Thousands of people used to cross the bridge everyday, and now people are just frustrated as the bridge lies unrepaired for two years.”
The same situation prevails in a culvert adjacent to ‘Boro Pul Par’ on Kurigram-Rajarhat road. Visiting the area UNB correspondent found that the culvert was severely damaged by the flood.
Locals complained that the LGED staff came to the spot to take measurements but did not take any effective measures for actual reconstruction.
Some of the other bridges that lie equally in disrepair include the Shokuntari bridge on Kedar-Kochakata road, Dhonitari bridge on Nageshwari-Bamondanga road, and Naodanga bridge on Sontoshpur-Taleberhat road, which have already been extensively damaged, causing extreme sufferings to thousands of inhabitants of the locality.
Kurigram LGED office sources said that 62 kilometres area of the 77-km road of LGED were severely affected in the 2017 flood. Some 37 bridges and culverts were damaged, and as a result, many areas became disconnected with the district, and upazila sadar.
Official sources said the roads and bridges affected by flood are being reconstructed through various projects. In the last two years, 13 bridges, and 12 culverts were reconstructed while about seven bridges with 300-metre breadth are being designed.
Syed Abdul Azaiz, executive engineer of Kurigram LGED, said: “Approach roads to the highways of Kurigram were also damaged by flood, but they were repaired immediately. So far, construction work on 13 bridge-culverts has been completed, while 12 others are in progress.”
“It’d be possible to construct the affected bridges, and culverts within the shortest possible time,” he said.