Twenty-three years on, hundreds of vehicles, including trucks, ply the bridge every day, risking lives
The bailey bridge that connects Ghoraghat upazila in Dinajpur with Palashbari of Gaibandha across the Korotia River has seen better days.
Now it is posing a threat to thousands of commuters travelling to-and-fro daily.
According to sources, the bridge was built in 1998 when Anwar Hassain Manju served as communications minister.
When the minister visited the area in 1996, locals had demanded a bridge across the river. Anwar then directed the local administration to build a bridge on the Korotia River. The construction of the bridge was completed in 1998.
After only a few years of completion, the bridge became shaky and it posed a risk to safety of passers-by, especially students, as a portion of the bridge was damaged.
There is not even any temporary measure to cover the damaged portion of the bridge, let alone a comprehensive repair work, said a student.
Twenty-three years on, hundreds of vehicles, including trucks, ply the bridge every day, risking lives.
Despite signs warning drivers of the dangers of overloaded vehicles on the bridge, most of them ignore and continue to operate heavy vehicles.
A number of passenger buses and goods-laden trucks from several areas use the bridge to travel to different districts while several hundred CNG-run auto-rickshaws use the bridge daily for local communication.
Frequent movement of a large number of vehicles turned the old Bailey bridge risky, said locals.
Anisur Rahman, resident of the upazila, said the authorities have been urged to repair the worn out Bailey bridge several times but to no avail.
"Now, we want construction of a permanent bridge in place of the Bailey bridge, and also widening of the roads, as soon as possible, to ease communication in the area," he added.
When contacted, M Nurunnobi, Ghoraghat upazila engineer, said the bridge was under the purview of Roads and Highways Department and “they have nothing to do with it.”
Meanwhile, Roads and Highways Department Engineer Suniti Chakma said he had sent the papers on the bridge to the ministry.
Member of Parliament for Dinajpur-6 Shibli Sadique has urged the prime minister to replace the bridge.
According to sources, communication in the district has been suffering setbacks since 13 deplorable bailey bridges on different roads across the district are yet to be transformed into reinforced concrete (RC) ones.
As a result, smooth ferrying of different agricultural and other products is being hampered, which is taking a great toll on the economy of the entire region, according to field sources.
Dinajpur is a district with a lot of agricultural activities. The abundant agricultural products produced here are carried to other regions via roadways. But, on the way, bailey bridges collapse very often after heavy goods-laden trucks attempt to cross the bridges, halting communication with other areas.
Plenty of paddy, lychee, mango and maize are cultivated in different upazilas here. But, the goods cannot be carried to other destinations through roadways in time as the bailey bridges are in deplorable condition and regular traffic jam