The bridge was meant to ease the commute to Galenga union from Ruma Bazar
The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) has constructed a bridge in Bandarban’s Ruma upazila that leads to nowhere but the hills.
The guarder bridge, which costs a whopping Tk41,415,241, was built at Palika Para near Ruma Bazar to connect Galenga. However, there is no road on the other side of the bridge.
Local LGED office says they usually build the bridges first in the hill tracts, and then go for road construction.
According to sources, Messers Yunus and Brothers got the contract to build the 58-metre bridge in 2017. Even though they were supposed to complete the project in 2019, the bridge was handed over earlier this year.
“The government has spent money on the bridge. But how are you supposed to cross it? There is no road on the other side,” Numang Marma, a local, complained, adding that leveling the hill for a road would be very risky.
According to another local, Hlaching, the contractors did the job whimsically and no LGED representative was there for supervision.
Since Galanga is located on the other side of the Sangu river, there is no other option but to build another bridge after making the new road, Ruma Sadar UP Chairman Shoimang Marma said.
Meanwhile, government officers still want to move forward with a new road that they claim can be done without razing the hills.
“There is no need to level the hills. There will be a 10km road to connect the bridge and we will call for tender this fiscal year,” said Bandarban LGED Executive Engineer Nazmus Shahadat Hossain Md Zillur Rahman.
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LGED Upazila Engineer Tofayel Ahmed said that the contractors handed over the bridge this year and they would start construction of the road soon.
“In the hilly areas, bridges need to be built before roads,” he said.
Bandarban Development Board Executive Engineer Abu Bin Md Yeasir Arafat said they were almost done with the work of a road from Ruma’s Ampu Para to Galangia. “Once it’s completed, Bandarban people can get to the Galanga union very fast.”
However, locals complained that the bridge built at the base of the hill was nothing but a ploy to embezzle money.
Bandarban’s Department of Environment Assistant Inspector Sreeroop Majumder said that the LGED had not applied for leveling the hills, and that they would not allow anything outside the rules.