Former enclave people cry for a bridge
The former enclave of Banshpochai in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila's Kulaghat union is in dire need of a concrete bridge to bring smooth transport connectivity to the area. Around 1500 people from 450 families continue to experience daily commuting difficulties for the lack of a bridge. Although the bridge has been asked for many times the government has, as yet, taken no steps.
“For a long time there was no authority to request for a bridge,” says Naimuddin Miah, 58 from Banshpochai. “Now we are Bangladeshi citizens so we have raised the issue. Government officials have visited our village several times but we still have no decision.”
“Around one hundred metres of roadway was destroyed by floodwaters eight years ago,” says Nazmul Islam, 45, another resident of the enclave who, along with his neighbours, became a Bangladeshi citizen at midnight on 31 July 2015. “Since the road was damaged we have endured risk while travelling every day. Due to the lack of a bridge we can't take our agricultural produce to market by rickshaw van which makes it difficult to sell. We are not enclave dwellers anymore but we still live like we are in an enclave because we haven't a bridge.”
“In the enclave period we had to build our own bamboo bridge at our own expense,” says another local, Abdu Samad, 65. “But now we shouldn't have to. The government has promised to develop the former enclaves.”
According to Kulagahat union's chairman Idris Ali, the local government engineering department has visited the site and already initiated a process for the construction of a concrete bridge there.
The department's engineer in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila Mokhlesur Rahman says a 135 metre bridge is slated to be constructed at a cost of Tk 6 crores and 61 lakhs during the 2017 – 2018 fiscal year. “A tender process for this project will be undertaken from the first week of July,” he says, anticipating that construction can begin once the process is complete.