Great task done by villagers
Villagers have constructed a concrete bridge over the Suria river in Gouripur upazila of the district on their own.
The people of Dharakandi and Khalodbari villages started this gigantic task in 2011 and completed the bridge at a cost of Tk 30 lakh in 2017.
The villagers from adjacent Bhutiarkuna, Kellatajpur, Kumri and Paluhati villages also extended their support to make the tough project a success, the volunteers said.
Some teachers of the villages led the construction of the 100-foot-long and eight-foot-wide bridge that cost around Tk 30 lakh, villagers said.
Related work of the construction, including sand filling and making concrete mixture, was done by the village people spontaneously and for free, they said.
The bridge was named “Nesar Ali Kanarpul” after Nesar Ali, a visually impaired man of the locality who used to take part in the bridge construction work.
The village people inaugurated the bridge two months ago but approach roads on both sides are yet to be completed, said one of the coordinators of the work, Ali Hossain of Dharakandi village.
Around 50,000 people of the two villages and its adjacent areas are beneficiaries of the bridge. Nearly 2,000 people use the bridge regularly to reach Mymensingh town through Gouripur upazila headquarters, said Bhutiarkuna Adarsha High School Headmaster Golam Mohammad.
"After collecting a design of a bridge of similar size, we arranged the construction work and got it done with the help of experienced masons," he said.
"Around 150 service holders in government and non-government offices contributed their one-month salary for the bridge when the work started.
"Former upazila parishad chairman Ali Ahmed Khan Silvi and former union parishad chairman Noor Mohammad Kalon also helped financially, he said, adding, "We contacted the upazila administration on various occasions but did not get any help."
After the work started, people from adjacent villages also came forward and extended financial and moral support that made the project easy, said Faruq Ahmed, a resident of Dharakandi, and headmaster of Echulia Government Primary School.
There was no bridge on the river and the village people had been using a bamboo bridge for decades, said Reaz Uddin, a retired primary school headmaster of the same area.
With gratitude, they also remembered late Abdul Hakim Talukder, a retired headmaster of Shahganj School and College.
Pledges to construct a bridge over the river are made before general elections, but they are forgotten after the election, villagers said.
The teachers supervising the bridge construction work said they held several meetings with the villagers and decided to start construction of the bridge, which finally began in 2011 and was completed in 2017.
Successful completion of the work gives the lesson that a noble task cannot be stopped for any financial crisis, they said.
Expressing their happiness, some students, including Kabir Hossain, Joynal Abedin, Shariful Islam, Mishu and Tahura of Bhutiarkuna Adarsha High School, said they have no problem in crossing the river after construction of the bridge.
Abdul Motalib, an 85-year-old farmer of the locality, said he also used to use the bamboo bridge since his boyhood, but that time of difficulty is over.
Praising the village people for their gigantic achievement, Ekram Hossain, a social activist of Gouripur, said it will remain as a rare instance in the country.