A bridge on a canal was damaged and its approach roads, part of Kakina-Aminganj road in Lalmonirhat's Kaliganj upazila, were washed away by floodwaters in August of 2017, but the authorities are yet to replace or repair those.
Having suffered for years, hapless residents of the area with their own funds recently built a makeshift wood bridge with bamboo poles to carry on with their day-to-day activities.
However, since the rickety 30-metre-long bridge is strong enough only for pedestrians, rickshaws or motorbikes, farmers in the area are facing difficulty transporting agricultural commodities and other goods to nearby markets.
Farmer Sufiar Rahman, a resident of Aminganj village, said it has been difficult and expensive to transport his produce to Kakina market as large vehicles cannot be used on the wood bridge.
The bridge needs to be repaired properly because it not only connects Kakina and Aminganj -- two important local markets -- but also their only link to get on Lalmonirhat-Burimari highway, he added.
Radhanath Barmon, a businessman based in Kakina, said, “Since trucks or trailers cannot get on the risky bridge, we aren't able to procure agriproducts from Aminganj haat [market] and villages surrounding it.”
A farmer from the same area, Sirazul Islam, said the larger market in Aminganj is a crucial for marketing agriproducts, but farmers from Kakina village cannot access the market after the bridge got damaged.
A proper and safer bridge has to be built in place of the makeshift one as thousands, including young children and elderly, use it every day, said Nurul Amin, a college teacher in Kakina.
When this correspondent approached Kakina Union Parishad Chairman Sahidul Haque Sahid and asked what steps he took so far to remedy the situation, he said so far, at least 12 letters were sent to Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), urging it to repair or rebuild the bridge.
Despite all that, LGED did not respond. “Don't know why this area is being neglected,” he said frustratingly.
Contacted, Engineer Sultan Mahmud of LGED in Kaliganj upazila said they already sent a design of a project proposal to the higher authorities concerned, seeking approval of funds for constructing a new bridge on the spot.
The project “might get approval and funds might get sanctioned within this fiscal year,” he also said.