A ‘death trap’ for people of at least 4 districts
A large number of people have continued risky ride on the awfully dilapidated bailey bridge over the Nautara River near Nautara Bazar in Dimla upazila of Nilphamari on Dalia-Sardarer Hat road as authorities failed to make any alternative arrangement.
Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) declared the 75-metre-long bridge abandoned three years ago but no step has been taken to reconstruct it to ease communication for people of Dimla and Jaldhaka upazilas of Nilphamari district and a part of Lalmonirhat district to go to Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts via Domar upazila.
Visiting the bridge on Friday, this correspondent saw signboards on both ends of the bridge, asking pedestrians and drivers of vehicles not to move through the risky bridge.
Four steel plates at north-east end are missing while the other plates, rusty due to overuse, are loosely connected with the iron frame.
“The remaining plates of the bridge are practically detached from the frame as many nuts and bolts are missing and welding materials are broken. Serious accident may occur if any of the plates slightly tilts or moves when a pedestrian or vehicle crosses the bridge,” said Nurul Islam, former chairman of Nautara union parishad (UP).
Present UP Chairman Mosharaf Hossain Mintu said mechanised vehicles no longer use the bridge but people have continued passing through the bridge on foot, rickshaws and bicycles amid risk.
“About two years ago a man with his wife and child was passing the bridge on a motorbike when one end of a loose steel plate tilted, causing the three riders fall into the river. The man and the child survived but the woman died on the spot,” said Abdur Rahman, 35, a resident of Nautara Bazar area.
There are often accidents, especially at night, as people find it difficult to see the risky spots on the bridge, locals said.
People of some unions of neighbouring Lalmonirhat district and also residents of Jhunagachh Chapani, Khalisha Chapini, Sutibari, Nautara, Gayabari and other places of Dimla upazila use this road and bridge to go to Domar and Dimla upazilas and some areas of Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts, said Abu Jar Rahman, former president of Palli Bidyut Samity, Nilphamari, also a resident of Nautara village.
“They are facing difficulties as they have to cover additional 30 kilometres to use the alternative way. Locals brought the matter to the notice of LGED offices in Dimla and Nilphamari but to no effect,” he said.
When contacted, LGED engineer in Dimla upazila Shyamapado Ghosh said, “Roads and Highways Department handed over the 75-metre-long bridge to LGED in 2003. All the steel plates are now so badly damaged that the bridge has become unfit for repair. Earlier we declared the bridge abandoned and hung a signboard, asking people not to use the bridge.”
“We have sent a project proposal to the higher authorities to construct a new bridge to replace the abandoned one at an approximate cost of Tk 2 crore,” he said.
Courtesy of The Daily Star