A dozen tractors heavily overloaded with earth crossed a bridge over a canal in Domar upazila, causing damage to it.
Movement of all kinds of vehicles except bicycle and motorbikes on the bridge has been stopped for the last two months, causing immense sufferings to people, said Solaiman Ali, a member of Domar Union Parishad (UP).
Earlier, tractors carrying about 15 tonnes of earth each for Shalki Bricks Ltd at Dolapara village plied the bridge 30 times every day, said drivers of the tractors.
To save the bridge from collapse, Belal Hossain, owner of the brick kiln, set some bamboo poles to support the bridge, said locals.
In 2013, the 40-foot-long and 7-foot-wide concrete bridge was built at a cost of Tk 38 lakh to pave way to the people of Dolapara, Chikonmati, Patakata tari, Baishalutari, Babupara and Signalpara to go to the upazila headquarters in shortest time.
Only light vehicles like rickshaw-van, battery-run easy-bike and private car can ply the bridge, but it is now damaged due to movement of overloaded earth-laden tractors, said the villagers.
On a recent visit, this correspondent found that the wing wall of the bridge cracked and separated from the main structure while earth of approach road on both ends collapsed.
After the bridge became damaged, the tractors have been plying through the dried up canal bed near the bridge for two months.
Carpenter Golam Rabbani of Baishalutari village said before the bridge was damaged, they submitted a petition to Domar UP and upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) for taking steps to stop movement of the earth-laden tractors, but to no effect.
Trader Azibor Rahman of nearby Patakata market said even rickshaw-vans cannot move through the bridge with essential goods or fertilizer and now they have to cross additional six kilometers via Sonarai Bazar on Nilphamari-Domar road, which is a waste of time and money.
Brick kiln owner Belal Hossain said “I have no tractor but gave contract to tractor owners for carrying earth from elsewhere. They are responsible for damage to the bridge not me.”
Regarding use of bamboo poles to support the bridge, he said he did that out of civic sense.
UNO Umme Fatima said disrupting communication and damaging government structure are punishable offence and they will conduct mobile court against the brick kiln soon.