The bridge was the only resort to locals and thousands of students from a number of villages
Heavy monsoon rainfall brought relief from the searing summer heat across the country, but immense sufferings for the 10,000 people of Satmera and Amarkhana unions in Panchagarh Sadar upazila.
The wooden bridge over Chawai River, the only means of connection between these two unions during the season, broke down several weeks ago amid a heavy downpour.
Now people of the eight adjacent villages have to walk an extra 10 kilometres to run their daily errands.
According to locals, amid heavy rains hyacinths and other waste stuck in the iron poles of the bridge caused a blockade and due to the strong current of the river, the bridge has tilted to one side.
Locals and thousands of students from Khoi Para, Danga Para, Fakir Para, Sarkar Para, Pakhilaga and other villages are now somehow crossing the river over the risky tilted bridge as it was their only resort.
“The bridge was our only means of going to schools and colleges. A proper bridge over the river can save our education,” said Sabina Akter, a student from Pakhilaga village.
“Every day, taking 10 kilometres extra for carrying goods is not an easy job. We only got assurances of having it fixed whenever we contacted the local MP’s and LGED engineers in this regard,” said Basirul Alam, from Danga Para village in Satmera union.
Dismayed by the authority’s negligence towards the demand for building a bridge over Chawai, at first, the locals had made a bamboo bridge using their own funding.
Later, former Panchagarh 1 MP Najmul Haque Pradhan and Awami League leader Naimuzzaman Muktar built the wooden bridge with their personal assistance.
Waliar Rahman from Khoipara village said: “Our demand for a bridge is as old as the independence of the country, yet no government has paid any heed to our sorrows.”
Satmera Union Parishan Chairman Md Ataur Rahman Khan said even continuous submission of applications for a bridge over Chawai River to MP’s, LGED office and other involved offices went in vain.
Only Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s immediate attention to the matter can resolve the suffering of the people in this region, he said.