A newly constructed bridge on the Charalkata river in Sadar upazila of the district could not be opened to traffic as there is no approach road on either end.
Construction of the bridge at Bazitpara village has been lying incomplete as no funds have been allocated for land acquisition to build the approach roads, said Kawsar Alam, senior assistant engineer of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). The bridge will connect Kishoreganj upazila with the district headquarters.
A tender was called for construction of the 144-metre-long and 7.32-metre-wide concrete bridge with 970 feet approach roads at an estimated cost of Tk 6.05 crore, Kawsar said.
Messers Islam Brothers got the work at Tk 5.28 crore which is 12 per cent less than the estimated cost, he said. They got the work on October 1 in 2014 for construction of the bridge with approach roads to be completed by December 7 in 2016, he added.
Kawsar said they are persuading locals to donate the land for making the approach roads for the sake of thousands of people as well as themselves as it will boost trade and help spread of education.
Construction of the approach roads remained stalled as 70 decimals of land on the east side and 33 decimals of land on the west side are private property, he said, adding that the owners are unlikely to hand over the land without reasonable price.
Besides the land, much of the land for the proposed approach road is khas land, so there should be no problem in proceeding with the work, Kawser said.
Meanwhile, Executive Engineer Belal Hossain said work of railings of the bridge remained suspended for a few days as its design has been changed. The work would start shortly, he hoped.
Ahadul Chowdhury of nearby Kalikapur village said it is unrealistic for LGED to expect that owners would give up the land free of cost while land price is sky-high now.
Landowner Abdus Sobhan said they would give land if the authorities give them a reasonable price so that they could buy land somewhere else.
The farmers cultivated various crops on both ends of the bridge while around 3 lakh people of 10 unions were compelled to travel 22km to go to the district town, wasting time and money.
Kishoreganj Upazila Parishad Chairman Rashidul Islam said the distance between Nilphamari and Kishoreganj would be reduced by 10km if the bridge opens to traffic. The matter was discussed in the district coordination committee meeting, he added.
Contractor Mizanur Rahman said they were ready to build the approach roads as soon as the matter was resolved with the land owners, which was still uncertain.
Belal said Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor at a meeting with the land owners assured them of fair price for the land locally and the owners agreed.
“We're likely to start the work for approach road after the robi season ends,” he added.