A missing bridge and sufferings of 50,000

As many as 50,000 people of nine villages in Rangpur’s Kaunia upazila are suffering due to the absence of a concrete bridge over the Teesta river.

Despite numerous pledges made by politicians during the previous national elections, the hopes of the villagers for a bridge remains unfulfilled, leaving them relying on a 370-foot long makeshift bamboo bridge, which puts their lives at risk daily.

Among the worst affected are the residents of wards-8 and 9 in Banglabazar area of Haragachh municipality, who rely on this vulnerable bamboo structure to cross the river on a daily basis during the rainy season.

“Once lively, the Teesta is now reduced to a lifeless stream. We can easily cross it on foot during dry seasons. However, we have no other option but to use the temporary bridge when the water level rises during monsoons,” said Aynal Haq, 60, of Banglabazar area.

In 2013, Md Manik, with assistance from other locals, constructed the bridge to alleviate the suffering of the villagers. But such risky makeshift structures cannot be the solution, said Anwar Islam, another local.

“This makeshift bamboo bridge, although an initial relief, falls short of providing a safe and reliable passage for the residents,” he added.

The consequences of the missing bridge extend far beyond mere inconvenience, affecting various aspects of daily life across the aforementioned villages.

With five rural haats, five primary and high schools, and two madrasas, the lack of concrete infrastructure hampers access to education and economic opportunities, particularly for the students and farmers, who bear the brunt of the hardships.

“These villages are mostly home to farmers and students. They cross the bridge with great risk. Some even fall off and get injured,” mentioned Mozibar Rahman, another resident.

Shafiqul Islam, a farmer, shared the difficulties of transporting his produce to the local market, which often results in financial loss for him.

Abdul Kader Sarkar, councillor of ward-8 of the municipality, said he has informed the matter to the mayor, hoping to find a solution that will put an end to the hardship faced by a large number of people in the area.

Contacted, Asaduzzaman Jemi, upazila engineer of LGED in Kaunia, said the location of the bridge is not under their purview. He suggested talking to the Haragachh municipality mayor.

Mayor Ershadul Haq could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.

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