Border people suffer for years for want of bridge | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 21, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:07 AM, January 21, 2021

Border people suffer for years for want of bridge

People from 102 families at Nakharjan border in Kurigram's Phulbari upazila have been crossing the wooden bridge over the Nilkamal river for years as no initiative was taken to build a concrete bridge there.

The border people use the 50-foot-long and six-foot-wide shaky bridge to reach the mainland amid risk of accident, said locals.

There is international boundary line between border pillars 940 and 941 adjacent to the bridge. 

Villagers said although Nilkamal is a small river, it is flooded during high tide in the monsoon. But it is completely dried up during the dry season. People of Nakharjan border village, who depend on agriculture for their livelihood, suffer a lot due to the lack of a concrete bridge over the river.

Farmer Anisur Rahman said there was a wooden bridge over the river till 1987. The wooden bridge was no longer built since it collapsed. Later, they had to cross a bamboo-made bridge on the river for many years.

In 2016, the wooden bridge was rebuilt with the help of the chairman and members of the local union parishad and villagers, but the authorities concerned are yet to take any initiative to build a concrete bridge there despite repeated pleas, said Anisur.

Another local resident Ashraful Haque, 48, said besides them, Indian people who are living outside the barbed wire fence at the border also use the bridge. At least 600 people live there.

When the gate of the barbed wire fence is closed in the evening, these Indian inhabitants use this wooden bridge to come to Bangladesh's market for buying necessities, he said, adding that it is an example of harmony between Bangladesh and India set by the bridge.

'We can't always travel to the mainland of India through the barbed wire fence's gate. All the people of the Bangladeshi border village Nakharjan are known to us. We also use the wooden bridge to come to the market in Bangladesh and buy the necessary things,' said Abdus Samad Khan, a farmer from the Indian border village Seuti Part-2.

Harunur Rashid, chairman of Phulbari Sadar Union Parishad, said concrete bridge over Nilkamal is not being built as the law prohibits construction of any infrastructure at the border.

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