The locals alleged, despite repetitive efforts, the authorities were unable to prohibit these influential businessmen, or to take any legal action against them
Several thousand commuters in Gopalganj are suffering as the Bhatiapara-Kalna road connecting to the Dhaka-Benapole Highway was damaged from the weight of sand-laded heavy vehicles plying the road.
Adding to that, 35 illegal open sky sand storages damaged around half a kilometre of the much used road.
According to local sources, influential sand traders of Kashiani, Gopalganj are openly flouting instructions despite ban by the administration on storing sands on the Bhatiapara-Kalna roadsides of the Dhaka-Benapole Highway, impairing day to day lives of at least eight to ten thousand people of the area.
Residents of Kashiani and Ratil union said, constant sand shipments on countless ten-wheeler trucks, tore-down the carpeting of the ram-shackled road, and it became impossible to commute on this road after persistent rain contributed to its worsening.
The locals alleged, despite repetitive efforts, the authorities were unable to prohibit these influential businessmen, or to take any legal action against them.
"Today [yesterday] a wood laden truck turned upside down, impeding vehicular movement on the road, and actually it became a regular scenario for us," one local said.
They alleged, an unofficial syndicate of local sand traders Afzal Sheikh, Ranju Sheikh, Emran Mridha, Esquen Sikder, Swapan Sarder, Ruhul Sarder, and Shabu Munshi along with 30 more, control the sand business in the area.
They dredge sand from the Madhumati River, illicitly store them on the roadside, and trade them to other districts.
Acknowledging the condition of the road, Ruhul Sarder, a local sand trader said: "After receiving the ban notices from the authority we opted out from storing sands on the roadsides."
He denied the allegations made by the locals, and said: "We do not store sand on public property anymore but use rented storages."
Kashiani Union Parishad Chairman, Moshiur Rahman, said: "The road is not only hard to commute but harmful for the overall environment as well. I along with the residents expect that the authority would take prompt action, and renovate the road."
Md Shariful Alam, deputy engineer of Gopalganj Road and Highways Department confirmed the marred condition of the road, and said: "Despite repetitive prohibition the local influential businessmen continued storing sands illegally, and using heavy trucks on the rickety road.”
"We are preparing to file a case against the traders. After removal of these illegal storages, we would renovate the road," the official promised.