COX'S BAZAR: A bridge connecting Sonadia Island to Moheskhali upazila of Cox's Bazar was built around 12 years ago, but it has been lying unused as there is no approach road on either side of it.
About two thousand residents of Sonadia Island are crossing the bridge with great difficulty as they need to climb bamboo ladders. Besides, the tourists who come to Sonadia Island also suffer.
The bridge was constructed in 2006 at a cost of Tk 60 million (6 crore) and the connecting road was constructed in 2009 at a cost of Tk 7.6 million (76 lakh). After three years of construction of the bridge, the road collapsed during the flood in 2011.
Sheikh Kamal, Qutubjom Union Parishad Chairman, said, "The Sonadia-Ghatibhanga road was damaged in the flood of 2011. The link road has not been repaired or constructed since then."
He further said, "About two thousand people live in Sonadia Island. Today, if there were roads, everyone could use the bridge".
He also said, "After 2016, an allocation of Tk 7.6 million (74 lakh) was made for construction of the Sonadia-Ghatibhanga link road, but in the meantime the road was not constructed due to the land acquisition by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA)."
"Now if the bridge is renovated with the allocated money, it would have been usable. On the other hand, a scope of entertainment would have been created for the tourists visiting Sonadia Island", he added.
Almost a century has elapsed, but the construction of the connecting road of the bridge has not been completed, he added.
Abdul Karim, a resident of Kutubjom union, said, "Many people were injured in accidents while climbing the bridge with a ladder. It is very difficult for women, children and old people to climb the dangerous ladder".
Shayed Alam, another resident of Sonadia Island, said, "I make a living by catching fish. As the bridge is high, it is very difficult to climb the bridge by the ladder. If the road is constructed it will be very convenient for our movement".
Locals demand construction of a sustainable connecting road there quickly.
Sabuj Kumar, Maheshkhali Upazila engineer, said, "In 2019, the project was undertaken to connect Ghativhanga and Sonadia. But due to acquisition of Sonadia Island by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), this road construction work has no longer been possible".