Bridge woe lingers for 40,000 Kurigram residents

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Staff Reporter:More than 40,000 residents of 20 villages in Ulipur upazila have been having a tough time commuting after a key bridge on a water body (locally called a ‘Beel’) collapsed several years ago shortly after it was constructed.

Although locals blame the use of low-grade materials, project officials claim that the bridge caved in during the 2015 flood since it was small in size.

The 36-foot bridge was built on Sakor Par Beel connecting Buraburi Bazar and Janatarhaat by the government at a cost of Tk 27 lakh. The contractor company was Hamid Traders.

Once the bridge was down, residents of Buraburi and a nearby union faced difficulty commuting. They raised funds and built a makeshift bridge to allow pedestrians cross the stretch of Beel where the damaged bridge once stood.

The UNB correspondent met biker Rezaul Islam of Buraburi union near the bridge. He had to push his motorcycle over the collapsed bridge and temporary approach roads on both sides.

Shamshul Islam, a local, recounted how they protested against the contractor who used low-grade sand while constructing the bridge but the then chairman sided with the construction firm.

“Our protest went in vain and the bridge collapsed months after it was built,” he said.

Locals said that the bridge is the most important means of communication for over 40,000 people. Farmers pay extra money to take their crops to market by another distant route. Students use the risky approach roads every day to go to school.

Md Rabiul Islam, Ulipur upazila project implementation officer, insisted that the bridge’s construction work had no fault and that it might have been damaged due to huge water pressure during flood.

“A 60-70 feet long bridge is needed on the Beel. I’ve advised the Upazila Nirbahi Officer to have the bridge built by some other government agencies,” he said.

Ulipur UNO Md Abdul Kader said that he was investigating the collapse of the bridge and would “soon” file a report to the concerned authorities.

unb

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