People of five villages in Rangamati Sadar upazila have been suffering immensely for years for want of a permanent bridge over a canal.
The villages are Uluchara, Katachari, Alutila, Notun Para and Biddya Nagar in the upazila.
As a makeshift arrangement, villagers make a bridge, made of bamboo and wood, over the canal in Kaptai Lake area under the upazila every year.
Locals said at least 300 people of the villages use the shaky bridge amid risk of accident. Especially school kids and critical patients are the worst sufferers due to the communication problem.
Every year a number of villagers sustained injuries after falling down from the risky bridge, they said.
During a visit to the area two days ago, this correspondent found many school going children using the 300-foot-long bridge to go to their educational institutions amid risk of accident.
Romel Chakma, a student of Class VII at Moanohar Residential School in the area, said every day they face immense trouble while crossing the shaky bridge.
“Last year, some of his friends fell from the risky bridge and sustained severe injuries while crossing the canal,” said Romel.
Robi Dhan Chakma, karbari (chief of village), said they repair the bridge every year without waiting for any government aid. The villagers, especially school kids, critical patients and elderly people, suffer much while crossing the shaky bridge.
In 2015-16 fiscal year, Rangamati Hill District Council aided them to build the bamboo bridge, said Robi, adding that but the bridge got damaged due to heavy rainfall and landslide in 2017.
Sumanta Chakma, a resident of Katachari village, said their children have to attend school, which is about two kilometre from the village, using the shaky bridge every day.
The bridge is the only means of communication for them but a portion of the bridge has been lying in awful state for long, said Sumanta.
So, they are suffering a lot due to the communication problem, he said.
During the rainy season, it is very difficult to carry agricultural products to the markets of the upazila headquarters, said Sumanta, adding that critical patients also face immense problem to go to the hospitals in the town while crossing the bridge during monsoon.
Biral Barua, executive engineer of Rangamati Hill District Council, said it is true that the villagers are suffering a lot while crossing the shaky bridge.
To resolve the communication problem, they have already decided to build a concrete bridge over the canal, said the engineer.