Overused and risky, this bamboo bridge over Phulkumar River in Royganj union of Nageshwari upazila under Kurigram district remains the lone means for walking across the river for thousands of people of several villages on the both sides of the river. PHOTO: STAR
Over 40 thousand people in two unions of two upazilas in the district have been suffering much just for want of a bridge.
Royganj union council constructed a 60-metre bamboo bridge over Phulkumari river at Rangalirbash village in Nageswari upazila with the voluntary services of local people eight years ago and the bridge was last renovated two years ago.
People of 20 villages of Royganj union in Nageswari upazila and Andharijhar union under Bhurungamari upazila of the district use the bridge, locally called 'Rangalirbash Pool'.
Now the bridge is in a bad shape, posing a serious risk to the users. As the bridge is not fit for vehicles, people are to walk an extra 15 to 18 kilometers road to reach the district headquarters, villagers said.
Royganj Degree College, Ratanpur MU High School, Ratanpur Government Primary School and Sonaikhamar Alim Madrasa are situated only half-a-kilometre around the bridge. Students go to their institutions using the bridge amid risk of accident anytime. Many people including students often use boat for crossing the river in fear of falling down from the bridge.
The people's representatives of the area pledged several times for constructing the bridge before their union parishad and parliamentary elections but they forgot the promise after polls, villager Suruzzaman Mia, 36, said.
While visiting the bridge, this correspondent talked to Aroz Ali, 50, of Rangalirbash village who said, "Now the bridge has turned into a death trap for people as middle part of he bridge has been badly damaged. Locals, including students, cross the river using the bridge with fear."
Acting chairman of Royganj union parishad Rokunuzzaman Shimu admitted that the bridge is most essential for people on both sides of the river.
"Local lawmaker called me recently and told me to place an application for constructing Rangalirbash bridge", he added.
Contacted, LGED engineer Masudur Rahman said, "I am yet to receive any order to renovate Rangalirbash bridge. However, I will take necessary steps after getting directives in this connection".