Transportation cost is heavy for people of 12 villages due to the unavailability of an operable bridge
More than three decades ago, a 150-metre bridge over the Kulik River at Rautnagar caved in barely two weeks after inauguration, causing suffering to residents of 12 villages in Thakurgaon’s Ranisankail upazila.
Around 40 metre remains of the broken bridge lies abandoned at the area since it was shattered on two sides during the flood in 1987.
Mobarok Hossain, former president of Ranisankail Press Club said: "Due to the bridge being broken, locals have to reach the markets in Rautnagar and Kathaldangi by travelling an average of 10 kilometres. Which would have been reduced to 500 metres if the bridge was renovated."
On a field visit, this correspondent found a culvert made of bamboo and wood being used by pedestrians and they need to pay to cross it.
However, it goes underwater during monsoon and tractors and trolleys carrying goods cannot use it.
Abdur Rahman, a farmer from Rasulpur village said: "Everytime during the election, the chairman and MP candidates assure us that the broken bridge would be renovated. But they forget their promises and as a result, the remains of the bridge have been lying there for decades.”
Anwara, a second year student of Ranisankail college said: "It gets extremely difficult for students to reach their destinations during monsoon.”
Sahera Khatun, a woman from Basatpur village said an elderly patient of her house died due to the time it took to take him to hospital. "Doctors don't want to travel to our village because of the distance."
Azgar Ali, a trader from Rnibhabanipur area, said that due to the bridge being unusable the cost of transporting goods increases a lot.
Altaf, labourer from Lehemba village of the upazila, said: "Prices of goods are higher on this side of the bridge than the market in the Raninagar Sadar. Similarly paddy, jute or whatever sellers of our villages want to sell gets a lower price as traders give excuses about their transportation cost."
Hossaingaon Union Parishad Chairman Mahbub Alam said he contacted the concerned department many times to fix the bridge and they assured him that steps would be taken.
Tarek Bin Islam, an engineer of Ranisankail upazila, said: "As the required bridge is longer than 100 metres, the fund allocation for its construction is not in our jurisdiction. But higher authorities came here and recorded measurements after we sent our reports regarding it.”
"We cannot say when the bridge construction would begin or end, only after the necessary paper works are completed."
MP Zahidur Rahman Zahid of Thakurgaon 3, said: "I have made contacts with the concerned department. Hopefully it will take swift actions to reduce the hassle of the people."