An important bridge over the Painchhara canal in Bandarban Sadar has been lying broken for the last four months much to the inconvenience of the residents of four localities.
In March, the middle portion of the bridge, mostly used by the residents of Kattoli Marma Para, Notun Chakma Para, Roaza Para, and Monjoy Para, caved in.
Commuters are still using the 40 feet long bridge risking their lives.
“This bridge is the only way to reach the Sadar upazila. Students and patients use it, traders carry their goods to the town via this bridge,” said Uba Hai Marma, a student of Bandarban Government College and a resident of Kattolipara.
“We are afraid to send our children to school as the structure has become very weak and might collapse anytime,” said Mong U Ching, another resident of the village.
Locals claimed that the Upazila Project Implementation Office used substandard materials when they constructed the bridge back in 2011-12 fiscal year. The bridge was built under the “Bridge/Culvert Programme” of the Department of Disaster Management with Tk 26.22 lakh.
“They were supposed to bring sands and stones from Sylhet but instead they used the low quality ones available here,” said Sabu Shwe Marma, karbari (local term for village head) of Kattoli Marma Para.
Mohammad Alamgir, project implementation officer (PIO) of the upazila, said he was not aware of what materials were used to build the bridge as it was not built during his tenure.
“Usually bridges last for 50 years. The previous PIO will be able to tell you why this one collapsed just seven years into its making,” he told this correspondent.
When contacted over phone, Niaz Morshed, the erstwhile PIO in Bandarban Sadar, said, “Since I am not posted there anymore, I do not know about the current situation. Let me check into it and get back to you.” But the officer went reachable afterwards.
“Locals are vexed at the awful condition of the bridge. The government spent a huge amount of money on this but it lasted for only seven years,” said U Wai Mong, a member of the Bandarban Sadar Union Council, adding that he had urged the PIO time and again to fix the bridge but in vain.