Political leaders in the area have promised to build the bridge during elections, but have never up upon being elected
In spite of repeated promises by political leaders in the last 30 years to construct a concrete bridge, 20,000 people in Rangpur district’s Taraganj upazila continue to suffer specially during the rainy season, locals complain.
In the Bhimpur-Shailbari area of Taraganj upazila of Rangpur, a bridge that connects villages has been promised to residents for 30 years.
Each year, the residents of the villages have collected donations for building, repairing and re-building bamboo bridges each time they have been washed away by the torrential downpour of the flooded regions.
This year the bridge has collapsed completely, leaving nearly 20,000 people in Alamgir Union, Bhimpur of Pramanikpara, Moulvipara, Baniapara, Khanpara, Shaailbari, Dangapara, Noluardanga, Koranipara, Moheshkhola, Dorjipara and other nearby places, to suffer extreme hardship during the flooding season.
Students who regularly attend different educational institutions all over the 12 villages, have suffered the most, as they have to travel a minimum of 3 extra kilometers to reach their destinations without access to a passover.
A visit to the Bhimpur Salaibari area of Bara Alampur union under Taragonj upazila found out about the locals' miseries due to absence of the bridge.
Locals report that for the past 30 years, many political leaders in their area have promised to build the bridge for them time and time again, but have never shown up in the area since they got elected.
Despite repeated assurances from the people's political representatives, the locals have not seen any steps being taken to build the bridge.
According to locals, the bamboo bridge collapsed in 2016 due to severe floods. As a result, all the people from 12 nearby villages suffered inhumanely as the flood waters entered the village.
When the bridge collapsed again in the floods of 2020 last year, the local people re-built the bridge at their own initiative with their own funds. Thousands of people from 12 villages were using this bridge every day.
This year, the flood has broken the bridge again and thousands of people in the area have again suffered immensely.
Local farmers in the area, including Mamtaz Uddin, Lokman Hossain and Sultan Ahmed, said that they could not take their produce to Chiklirhat, Tentultala Bazar, Bhimpur Bazar and Taraganj Bazar as the bamboo bridge collapsed again and again.
As a result, they were forced to sell our agricultural produce at low prices in their own areas, and they did not get a fair price for their produce.
Locals, Saleha Begum, Saheb Ali, Monowar Hossain and several other villagers said they took their produce to the market on Monday and Friday.
“A large quantity of agricultural products is traded at this market. Wholesalers come from different areas to buy agricultural products and sell them at the market, but we are deprived of a fair price for the products we produce because there is no bridge,” they said.
Locals Sakmal Hossain, Amir Uddin, Amjad Hossain and some others complained that almost every year they build bamboo bridges with their own money but when the river water rises during the rainy season, the bamboo bridges break due to the rapid flow of water.
The people of the 12 villages around the bridge are small farmers and farm laborers, so it is not possible to build bamboo bridges again and again. This time it was not possible to build a bamboo bridge due to lack of funds, they said.
Abdul Wazed Sarkar, a class XI student of Rangpur Carmichael College and a local resident of Chaktahira area, said “About one and a half thousand students from his area go to Taraganj everyday to study in different schools and colleges. Due to the lack of a bridge, the students going to these schools and colleges must take a long, roundabout way to their respective educational institutions. So if the bridge was built here, the students of our area would be really benefited.”
When contacted, Delwar Hossain, chairman of Alampur Union Parishad, said, "I have informed the chairman of the Upazila Parishad and the local MP about the construction of a bridge at Shailbari Ghat in my area. I am not able to repair the bamboo bridge due to lack of allocated funds from the Union Parishad.”
Taragonj Upazila Engineer Ahmed Haider Zaman said, "We sent the necessary documents to Dhaka last year for the construction of the bridge at Shailbari Ghat. We will build the bridge as soon as we receive the allocated money."