Their request went unheeded for 47 years! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:40 AM, January 14, 2021

Their request went unheeded for 47 years!

Before every public election in Joychondi union of Kulaura upazila over the last 47 years, many contenders made the promise.

But after the elections were over, none of the winners lived up to the promise of replacing the makeshift bamboo bridge, over the Gogalichhara river, with a proper concrete one.

The 30-metre-long rickety bridge is the only means of communications with the upazila headquarters for around 12 thousand inhabitants of Abutalipur, Mithupur, Rampasha and Begmanpur villages in Joychondi union.

With no more than a metre in width and without any handrail on its sides, the bridge becomes extremely risky especially during the monsoon when its uneven platform gets slippery and the rising current below flows with an enormous force.  

During a visit recently, villagers including children, women and the elderly were seen risking their lives while passing each other on the narrow rundown bridge.  

Abutalipur village resident Bashir Mia, aged 60, said, "We've been suffering for the last 47 years, since I was a child."

He also said the villagers turned in petitions for a bridge on numerous occasions to offices concerned in the union as well as in the upazila, but their appeal has gone unheeded all these years.     

Arab Mia of the same village has four cows and he has to consult the upazila livestock office on the other side of the river quite frequently.

But while crossing the unsafe bridge, he cannot help but think of falling down in the river, he said.

Journalist Abdul Ahad, a resident of Rangirkul area in Joychondi union, said the ramshackle bridge with uneven platform poses high risk to local farmers and others who oftentimes get into accidents while carrying produce and other goods on it. 

A permanent bridge is urgently needed on the river to ensure safety of everyone -- especially children, women, the elderly and those who require emergency medical care at hospitals in the upazila town.

The number of service seekers at Mithupur Community Clinic drops significantly during the wet season when the bamboo bridge becomes highly hazardous for crossing, said Kamal Ahmed, a community healthcare provider at the facility. 

Sutrisna Rani Sarkar, head teacher of Rahmat Mia Government Primary School, observed that dropout rate of students from the four villages by the bridge is higher than that in surrounding areas and a permanent bridge would help overturn the scenario.

"We went to every office concerned for a bridge and we get lots of promises from candidates when the election comes. But we never got the bridge," said Bimal Das, a member of a local ward. 

Joychondi Union Parishad Chairman Kamar Uddin Ahmed said that he raised the demand in vain for a proper bridge at the spot several times during the monthly coordination meeting of Kulaura Upazila Parishad.

Asked, Kulaura Upazila Nirbahi Officer ATM Farhad Chowdhury said he was not aware of the situation, but he would take necessary steps after visiting the area.  

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