JHENIDAH, Dec 26: The repair work of Tikary Bridge on the Narkelbaria-Tikary Road over the Sanchai river is yet to start though 18 months have already passed since it has broken-down.
According to the local people, LGED built the concrete bridge in 1994 over the Sanchai that has flowed by Tikary Bazar, an important business centre for the people of many villages around it.
Local sources said the middle part of the bridge on the Narkebaria-Tikary Road broke down suddenly on June 06, 2016, to the utter surprise of locals.
Subodh Karnodhar (62) and his sons Polash (32) in association of the local people made a slab with wood, iron angles and other necessary things paying 10 labourers and a carpenter for many days. The total expenditure of the construction work came up to about Tk 0.3 million.
Subodh bore the lion share of the cost, hoping to earn money regularly from cows- laden engine-run three wheelers that ply in great numbers over the road connecting Jhenidah district town with Magura.
However, around five months later Subodh was told to remove the wooden slab of the bridge informing that the repair work would start soon.
And so, the authority concerned broke off the rest portion of the concrete slab telling Subodh and his sons to make an alternative bamboo bridge beside the broken bridge for communication of the people.
Since the abrupt breaking down of the bridge local people have been suffering a lot as the heavy vehicles stopped to ply over the river here.
Palash Karnodhar told this correspondent that people at time violently misbehaves with them as they cannot allow heavier vehicles like Nosimons, Karimons, engine vans to run over the bamboo bridge.
Thousands of people of a good number of villages including Zitorh, Miakundu, Kushobaria, Dhanonjoypur, Muktarampur, Narikelbaria, Tikary, Dohokhola, Dighirparh, Luxmipur, Malonchi and Beruil used to cross the river over the bridge.
Abdul Kuddus of Zitorh (Kuthipara) village told the FE that people's suffering has mounted after the movement of heavy vehicles was stopped.
Residents of the villages surrounding Tikary Bazaar fall in tremendous troubles while bringing agricultural products including rice and paddy to the market.
Moreover, bringing construction materials such as bricks, rod, cement and sand for concrete houses has almost stopped.
Furthermore, school and college going students are also in trouble to cross the river. Sometimes, small kids and old people fall off the sako, receiving injuries.
A boat arranged by Subodh Kumar and his son was carrying people, small commuters and things for some months. The boatman Palas said around 20 people would often climb on it while its capacity is to carry 10 men.
Damaged by frequent overloading, the boat has been kept on the ground near the crossing point of the river, Palas added.
Subodh Kumar said if he did not build the bamboo sako, people would not be able to cross the river.
Executive engineer of LGED, Jhenidah, Md. Abdul Malek, while contacted, said, "Tenders were floated out to repair the bride and a contractor got the work to do. But the date for starting the repair work has already passed."
"We have written to the head office to take necessary action to cancel the contract. So, the contractor will be fined. His security deposit will go to the government exchequer. And re-tender will be floated out soon", he added.
Meanwhile, our Bogra correspondent adds: A steel-made bridge over a swamp, locally known as beel, in Kadma area of Bogra's Adamdighi upazila has posed a death trap to thousands of people, but authorities are blind to repairing it.
The bridge measuring 61 metres caused such a threat as it was constructed with sub-standard materials and not maintained properly.
Among worst sufferers of this messy bridge are children, elderly people and young students who have to cross the bridge frequently risking their lives.
"I have to cross the broken bridge two times daily while going to Haji Tasher Mahila college in Adamdighi," a Marufa Khatun, a 19-year-old college student, told FE.
For a smoother communication system in the area, she called on the authorities concerned to take up steps immediately.
The Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED), which constructed the bridge as a connector between Kadma and Adamdighi in 2006, said they are not responsible for this.
LGED upazila engineer Abdul Matin said the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has recently taken responsibility of the bridge.
He, however, said his department had informed the higher authorities of the bridge's derelict condition several times in the past. But all those efforts proved to be futile, he observed. Fund scarcity, according to him, might have led to such inaction.
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