Bridge lies useless for six years
The primary objective behind constructing the bridge was to alleviate the difficulties faced by students commuting to school, improve transportation of haor crops, and end the sufferings of residents.
However, instead of mitigating the hardships, the bridge's construction seemed to have exacerbated them. The main issue lies in the fact that although the bridge was built, the connecting road was neglected, leading to continued challenges for the villagers for the last six years.
This is the condition of the bridge built over the haor in Satgaon Paschim Hati, a village in Badalpar of Ajmiriganj upazila in Habiganj.
Despite claims by the upazila project implementation officer that efforts are made each year to construct the road by dumping soil, the recurring monsoon floods consistently wash away these temporary measures.
The lack of a satisfactory explanation as to why the work is not completed before the monsoon further strengthens the locals' allegations that the authorities concerned are not taking the construction of the approach road seriously.
The Badlapur union, where Satgaon Uttar Hati village is situated, shares its border with the Kalni-Kushiara river. This geographical feature has created a significant distance between the village and Badalpur Bazar, as the river is in between and that makes accessibility a major concern for the villagers.
The construction of the bridge at a cost of around Tk 28.9 lakh in the financial year 2015-16 was intended to address this issue. However, failure to construct the connecting road has rendered the bridge inaccessible.
Upon visiting the location, this correspondent witnessed the suffering caused by the lack of a proper connecting road. The only presence on the road was just some dirt next to the bridge.
The deteriorating condition of the bridge and the visible cracks at various points raise concerns that this year's flood could cause further damage.
Sunil Das, a resident of the village, said the bridge was initially constructed to alleviate the suffering of the community, but their hardships have not diminished.
The absence of roads on both sides of the bridge has rendered it non-functional, leaving villagers to endure difficulties in transporting their haor produce and students struggling to access education, he added.
Contacted, UP member Shyamal Kumar Das acknowledged that the bridge was built to benefit students and villagers. However, he noted that even a section of the bridge was destroyed by a flood in 2020, yet no measures have been taken to repair it. He emphasised the urgent need for a collaborative effort among the government, local authorities, and community members to rectify the situation.
Ajmiriganj upazila's former Project Implementation Officer Mohammad Ali said last year, approximately Tk 80,000 worth of soil was dumped to improve the road condition, but unfortunately, it got washed away during the monsoon flood.
In response to those who claim that no work has been done for five years, he said renovation efforts have taken place to facilitate the movement of people.
On the other hand, current PIO Subodh Mondol said he recently joined the office and is unable to provide detailed information about the bridge and its current status.