It’s called a canal. But during the monsoon Gowali canal swells like a rivulet with a strong current. For the villagers the only way to cross it is offered by a Shako, a makeshift bridge made of bamboo poles.
“Children and old people fear for their lives while crossing the canal by the Sakho,” said 65-year-old Bashar Ali of Ramdhana Shekhargaon Paschimpara area under Alangkari Union of Sylhet’s Bishwanath upazila. A good number of locals cross the canal by this single Sakho every day to go to work and conduct usual business, he said.
There are still some people who would cross the canal on rafts rather than risk their life by using the Sakho, according to locals. Cattle are made to swim through the canal.
The people of this area have been suffering for over 30 years for the absence of a bridge over Gowali canal.
Locals gathered to voice their frustration when this correspondent visited the area recenty.
They escorted the reporter to the canal over which the 45-feet long and 5-feet wide Sakho has been built recently. It stands between Shekhargaon Pashim Para and Alankari Primary School road. Thick mud was spotted on both ends of the Sakho which makes movement even more difficult.
Though a majority of the local people blamed the administration and people’s representatives of the area for not building a proper bridge, some pointed to local rivalry as the cause.
Local Union Parishad chairman Nazmul Islam Ruhel claimed that government allotted funds twice to build a bridge. But the funds returned unused due to objection by some villagers who feared it may take over their land.
Others, however, disagreed with the chairman. They said politicians make promises to build the bridge only when election comes. Post-election they forget their promises.
Ruling parties have changed, MPs came and went by but the bamboo bridge remained the same, they said.
The villagers have to often repair Sakho with their own money to avoid accidents. Besides, the bamboos need to be changed twice a year for which locals pay money and work voluntarily.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sumon Chandra Das said the administration is aware of the people’s sufferings for lack of the bridge. Necessary steps would be taken, he said.