KURIGRAM: Thousands of villagers in Phulbari upazila of the district have been using a makeshift bridge for over 50 years to cross the Baromasia River risking their lives as there is no concrete bridge.
Authorities have failed to take any initiative to build a concrete bridge over the river since the independence of the country.
Shahadat, 44, a resident of the village, said, “It’s too difficult for us to cross the bridge with heavy goods. Those who ride bicycles have to cross it with a greater caution.”
Fed up with the apathy of the authorities, Shahadat said, “It’s clear the administration is least bothered about the problems we have been facing.”
He said they have to repair the bamboo-bridge over the river at Nabiulghat in Shimulbari village every year as it is the only way to reach the upazila headquarters.
Children, students and elderly people have to cross the broken bamboo-bridge risking their lives. Many villagers slip into the river or get hurt while crossing the river using the bridge.
According to the villagers, two bamboo-bridges were built on the 5-km long Baromasia River and one of them built along Nabiulghat has turned risky as it largely got damaged by the recent floods.
Women and children are usually seen crossing the river very crawling while school and college students cross it by bicycles with fear.
During the time of harvest, farmers suffer a lot as they have to hire boats paying additional charges to take their produce to local markets.
Two school students—Maminul and Azmeri -- of Jhaukuti village said they have to cross the bamboo-bridge to reach their school though they are well aware it may collapse anytime.
Hamid Mia, a farmer of the upazila, said, “There was a ghat in the area six years back and we used boats for crossing the river. Later, local people built the bamboo-bridge over there but now it’s in a very shabby state.”
Ataur Rahman, assistant teacher of Balahat School and College, said “School students and farmers are suffering a lot as they’ve to cross the bridge every day. Every year, we renovate the bridge with the help of villagers as the local administration is reluctant about recognizing their sufferings.”
Sumon Das, Phulbari Upazila Nirbahi Officer, said “We’ve already taken an initiative to repair the two dilapidated bridges to mitigate the sufferings of the villagers.”
But he did not say anything about building a concrete bridge over the river.