LALMONIRHAT, Nov 18 (UNB): A risky bamboo bridge at Mohishamuri Dharapar village in Kaliganj upazila has become the only means for over one lakh people of 15 to 20 villages since a concrete one over the Shoti river caved in five years ago.
According to locals, the Shoti river flows through Mohishamuri Dharapar village in Kakina union of the upazila. A concrete bridge was built over this river to connect the villages with Kakina-Aminganj road.
During a devastating flood five years ago, the bridge caved in.
Although people used boats and rafts to cross the river for a few days, locals built a wooden and bamboo bridge over the river spending their own money.
As the bamboo bridge breaks down every year due to the large number of people and vehicles moving over it, the connectivity is cut off, leaving the local people in trouble.
Now the bridge has become a death trap for the local residents with accidents occurring almost on a regular basis.
When rickshaws move over the rickety bamboo bridge, passengers as well as patients have to get down. Ambulances and Fire Service vehicles cannot use the damaged bridge.
This bridge in its current state has become a source of misery for people living in these villages, said locals.
The traditional Kakina Haat is the largest market in the region for buying and selling goods. People living in almost 20 villages, including Kakina Mohishamuri in the Teesta char area, Hajirhat, Char Boirati, Auliarhat, Kanchanshar, Bagerhat, Kanarhat and Binbiniyar Char have to travel 10 to 15 km more to take their produce to Kakina Haat.
As a result, the economic development in this region is being hampered as the transportation cost has gone up damaging agriculture and business prospects, said some residents of Mohishamuri village.
Boys and girls in this region studying at Kakina Mahima Ranjan Memorial High School, Kakina Government Primary School, Kakina Shishu Niketon, Kakina Madrasah and Kakina Uttar Bangla College are risking their lives just to cross the damaged bridge.
Besides, most teachers and employees at Mohishamuri Government Primary and High School, Kanchanshar Government Primary School, Aminganj Government Primary School, Bagerhat Gover-nment Primary School and Kanarhat Government Primary School take this route to go to their workplaces.
Although the road is significant for government's development work in this region, no initiative has been seen to repair or rebuild the bridge from the government,
Azhar Ali and Momin Uddin, residents of Mohishamuri Dharapar area, told the correspondent.
"For the last four years, we've been collecting money, bamboo and wood to construct the bamboo bridge. We didn't get a single penny for the wood and bamboo from the government," Azhar Ali said.
Both of them expect government intervention to solve the problem.
Robiul Hasan, Kaliganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), said locals built the scaffold to facilitate their movement after the bridge was damaged.
"Last year, I went to repair a section of the scaffold and informed a senior official of LGED about the matter. They promised to take up a project to build a new bridge but there has been no initiative in sight in this regard," he said.
He, however, promised to contact the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief as well as LGED for building the bridge quickly.