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Cry for Makunda river bridge in Sylhet remains unheard

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UNB, Sylhet :
There is no initiative from the authorities in sight yet to construct a bridge over the Makunda River in Bishwanath upazila of the district to end sufferings of the local residents.
Locals in the upazila have long been raising a demand for constructing a permanent bridge to ease their traveling across the 150-foot wide river.
But their demand lies still unmet to their dismay with no visible sign to construct the bridge immediately.
This has forced them to erect a bamboo made fragile makeshift bridge over the river as a means of crossing it somehow for the time being. The bamboo bridge is being used by around 6,000 people of nearby nine villages daily.
As the bamboo bridge is shaky, accidents while crossing the river are not unusual here as most of its users are school-going children.
Locals have alleged that a functional bridge is highly needed and long due for the development of the area but the authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to the issue.
Sources said repair and replacement of the bamboo bridge for damage at the site cost around Tk30,000 every year.
But the temporary fragile bridge is often kept safe for crossing by using thin bamboos, due to lack of fund.
The thin bamboo stalks are not even sharpened and are quite slippery making the bamboo bridges quite risky.
Residents of Bilpar, Babunagar, Maonpur, Teghari, Kandigaon, Jaynagar, Noapara, Bhatpara and a portion of Telikona depend on the short-term bamboo bridge for moving in/out of the area for attending classes, going to markets or hospitals.
Local resident Rangmala Bibi told UNB, "Small kids are scared of using these bamboo bridges, hence an adult has to accompany them every time they go to school and also come back home."
Talking to some students of the area, it has been known that they mostly help each other by holding hands while using the bamboo bridge.
Sometimes their bags fall into the river water ruining all their books and stationery.
Local social worker Pir Sirajul Islam said, "It's a hellish ordeal every time when we need to move patients from our villages to a nearby town hospital for emergency treatment."
Rampasha UP chairman Anwar Khan said he has been in constant touch with authorities to press home the demands of local people for building a permanent bridge in the area. He is hopeful that the demand for a permanent bridge in the area will be met soon.
Khajanchi UP chairman Nizam Siddiqui said it is high time that a stable bridge needs to be built in the area.
It is crucial for the area's overall development.
Khandakar Golam Shawkat, an engineer of Bishwanath upazila, told UNB, "The proposal for a permanent bridge has been submitted to the transport ministry. Once the proposal gets approval from the ministry, construction work of the bridge will commence."

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