Believe it or not, a dilapidated concrete bridge, ‘protected’ with bamboo poles for around three years, serves as the lone means for people of at least 12 villages in Narail Sadar upazila.
The bridge, built around 20 years ago over a canal at Sitarampur village in the upazila, developed cracks after couple of years of construction and lastly two large holes appeared on its deck.
Around 4,000 people daily use the bridge amid risk, said locals.
“We have set bamboo poles to protect the bridge that faces the risk of collapse anytime,” Ovimannu Roy, 80, a resident of Sitarampur village, told this correspondent during the latter’s recent visit to the spot.
“Before national and local elections, political leaders give us promise to repair it. But they forget everything afterwards,” he added.
Fish farmer Amrita Roy, 35, of the same village said, “It is not possible to cross the bridge even with a rickshaw-van loaded with fish. We have to unload the fish from vehicles before getting on the bridge and then we load it again after crossing the bridge.”
Another villager Probin Kobiraj, 32, said their sufferings increase during the rainy season as the approach roads of the bridge also became awful.
A large number of people including those from Hizaldanga, Sitarampur, Durbarjuri, Icharbaha, Shaliarvita, Basvita, Mulia, Pantita, Korgram, Baliadanga, Barendar and Goaldanga villages travel through the bridge amid risk as there is no alternative, said Sujon Gain, a local union parishad member.
Several hundred schoolchildren have to cross the bridge daily to attend their classes, he said.
Contacted, Bidhan Chandra Samaddar, executive engineer of the district’s Local Government Engineering Department office, said, “I have been informed of the matter. After inspecting the bridge, we will take necessary steps.”