Sheikh Hasina Teesta Bridge in Lalmonirhat’s Kaliganj upazila has remained off limits to public transport and heavy vehicles like buses and trucks since its construction over a year ago, much to the dissatisfaction of the locals.
After inauguration of the bridge in September last year, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) set up a barrier on Kakina-Rangpur Road at the entrance of the bridge, preventing public transports from moving on the route.
Despite locals’ demand to allow buses and goods carrying trucks for ensuring easy communication between Lalmonirhat and Rangpur city and transport of agricultural products, LGED authorities are yet to withdraw the barrier.
Now only light vehicles are allowed on the route.
“We don’t know why LGED still keeps the barrier. We have to count additional cost to go to Rangpur city by rickshaw or battery-run three-wheeler,” said Nurul Islam, 55, of Kakina village Kaliganj upazila.
“The barrier on the road is barrier to our development as we can’t transport agricultural products by trucks on the route,” said Nazrul Islam, 60, a farmer at the same village.
The 850-metre-long and 9.6-metre-wide bridge over the Teesta river was constructed at a cost of Tk 121.65 crore while Tk 23 crore was spent for the 13-km-long road including 5-km on Lalmonirhat side and 8-km on Rangpur side and six culverts and small bridges to make the newly constructed bridge usable for vehicles plying the road, LGED officials said.
Several lakh people of Lalmonirhat’s Aditmari, Kaliganj, Hatibandha and Patgram upazilas use the route to go to Rangpur city and other parts of the country as the newly constructed bridge reduces the distance between Lalmonirhat and Rangpur by 50 km.
Contacted, LGED’s Executive Engineer in Lalmonirhat Ashraf Ali Khan said, “The barrier was set up on the road following the direction of our higher authorities. I sent letter seeking permission to withdraw the barrier a month ago but to no response yet.” There is public demand for removal of the barrier, he added.