For the 1,000-plus children of two remote villages in Kaliganj upazila, the daily commute to school is nothing short of an ordeal. This is because the only bridge over a feeder stream of the Teesta in the Chor Boirati area has been lying useless for the past six years for want of a proper approach road on one side.
"It's a long walk to school every morning. We are forced to take a detour of 4-5km to reach our school," an eight-year-old girl student told UNB on her way to school earlier this week.
In fact, the residents of the neighbouring hamlets have been facing immense sufferings since 2015 when the connecting road on the east side of the bridge was washed away in flash floods. Their repeated requests for the construction of the approach road to the authorities concerned have so far fallen on deaf ears.
"My students suffer everyday because of the reluctance of the local representatives in accelerating the repair work of the approach road on the east side of the bridge,” said Abu Bakar Siddique, the principal of Dakshin Ghoneshyam Government Primary School.
It's a nightmare for other residents as well. "Going to the market for buying daily essentials or selling our farm produce is really a pain. The upazila chairman and other members visit our area only during the elections. They make big promises only to forget after winning the polls," said Ayub Ali, a 60-year-old farmer.
Some 20,000 families live in the two villages. In the 1997-98 financial year, the bridge was built over the feeder stream of the Teesta at a cost of Tk 3 lakh by the local government engineering department for the benefit of the residents of the two villages.
When contacted, the engineer of Kaliganj upazila, ATM Shamshuzzaman, claimed that he was not aware of the situation. "But I will soon visit the area and take necessary steps to alleviate the sufferings of the local people," he said.