Ctg foot bridges in disuse, dismal state
With most of Chittagong city's existing 10 foot bridges barely in use and in a dismal state, Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) laid the foundation stone of another in January expecting to spend Tk 6.8 lakh, raising doubts whether public money is indeed being put to good use.
Some of the bridges are strewn with human excrement and urine and covered with billboards while none have lights for better visibility at night, consequently turned into dens for drug abuse, prostitutes and muggers and also remain occupied by the homeless.
Recently on repeated visits and from observations of people working nearby, The Daily Star, except the one at Dampara, before Bangladesh Women Association School, found only a handful of people using the remaining nine bridges.
The Dampara one was mainly being used by school students and their parents, bearing a CCC banner on one end encouraging its use.
Habibur Rahman, a banker crossing the foot bridge with his two school-going daughters, said fences should be built on the divider below to force unwilling pedestrians to use the structure.
The Daily Star also alarmingly observed that garment workers in groups were incessantly blocking traffic to cross the Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) intersection although there are two foot bridges.
Both bridges were covered with billboards, banners and posters.
A covered van driver, Ekram Hossain, passing by said this jaywalking left them stuck at the intersection for long hours every morning and evening when the workers enter or leave the CEPZ.
A traffic constable, Siddiqur Rahman, standing nearby expressed his helplessness in stopping the waves of workers.
Although there is a public toilet at the New Market intersection, The Daily Star found the two bridges at the nearby Reazuddin Bazar and before Municipal High School strewn with human excrement.
Moreover, huge billboards covered those while some seemingly homeless people were sleeping on them. Traders nearby said the bridges at night turn into a spot for drug abuse, mugging and prostitution.
The same situation was prevailing at the foot bridge in Fakirhat.
The bridge at the Customs intersection bore a banner of Chittagong Port Authority while those of other government institutions and private and political organisations covered the one at the Hospital Gate.
However, the bridges at South and East port colony gates had no banners or posters.
CCC Chief Inspector Abul Mansur (Bill Board) said the billboards at New Market, Fakirhat and CEPZ had CCC approval.
“After the contracts expire, we would ask owners to reduce the size of the billboards. If they do not comply, we will remove those,” he added.
CCC Conservancy Officer (North) Kanulal Nath said he would see whether the bridges were “indeed unclean”.
CCC Superintendent Engineer Anwar Hossain said the fences would be erected in phases later as CCC was “currently facing a fund crunch”.