There is a bridge in Dilbarnagar village under Sadar union of Srimangal upazila. But for 21 years, ever since it was built, the villagers had been crossing the arroyo below it on foot during dry seasons.
Why? Because there is no approach road that connects either side of the bridge.
The bridge was built over the arroyo (a dry creek or stream bed that temporarily or seasonally fills up and flows after rain) so about five thousand inhabitants of the village, mostly farmers, could easily transport their produce all year round to nearby places like Jerin, Daluchhara, Phulbari, Dilbarnagar, Dilbarnagar Puranbari and Radhanagar.
Locals said during wet seasons, they are cut off from Kamalganj, Shamshernagar and Moulvibazar towns and their children cannot go to school without a functioning bridge.
Shahadat Hossain, a student at Mohajirabad High School in the area, said students are often late for school and on many occasions they have to skip school, as it becomes extremely dangerous to walk below the bridge during rainy days.
He also said that he did not understand why the government spent so much money on the bridge, but let them suffer for 21 years without finishing its roads.
While visiting the village, this correspondent found a good number of people and a few motorcyclists who were crossing the dry creek under the bridge.
Locals said the authorities, after completing the bridge in 2100 with government funds, did not care to find out whether it was functional or not.
Shamsul Haque, a lemon grower in Radhanagar, said Afzal Hossain, the then chairman of the local union parishad (UP), built the bridge in 2000, but he did not take steps to connect it with approach roads.
Dilbarnagar resident Mukundo Das said the situation is quite frustrating as no UP chairman or public representative built the approach roads in the last 21 years.
Contacted, Srimangal Union Parishad Chairman and local Awami League leader Bhanu Lal Roy said the bridge was built with a major design flaw -- without guard walls on both ends.
In order to build the guard walls, they would need a funding of Tk 21 lakh, an amount that is too large to allocate from the budget of the union parishad.
When the attention of Nazrul Islam, upazila nirbahi officer of Srimangal, was drawn on the matter, he said he would pursue the disaster management department for a remedy.