Thousands suffer as bridge remains incomplete in Manikganj

Published : 02 Dec 2023 08:11 PM

Due to negligence, the construction of the bridge over the Dhaleshwari River in Chandhar village of Manikganj, remains incomplete even after five years, leaving local residents in distress.

Initiated in 2018 under the "Rural Road Important Bridge Construction Project" to alleviate living costs and enhance communication with Keraniganj in Dhaka, the 315-metre bridge project faced setbacks due to the negligence of the initial contractor. The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) allocated Tk 34 crore 86 lakh 530 for the project.

Despite beginning construction on January 30, 2018, under Navana Construction Limited's supervision, the project witnessed delays and a change in contractors. Jannat Construction took over in January of the following year, signing a new agreement for Tk 34 crore 33 lakh 20 thousand with a revised completion deadline of January 19, 2025. However, construction under the new contract has come to a halt for the past six months.

On the ground, it is evident that abutment and wing wall work on both ends of the bridge has taken five years to complete, while only two out of five pillars, piers, and pier caps have been finished. The protracted construction period has forced residents to rely on a deteriorating boat as their only means of crossing the river, affecting thousands of people across 10 villages.

Local farmers and traders are grappling with financial losses as the delayed bridge hampers their ability to market produce from thousands of bighas of land on time. Shahadat Hossain, a farmer from Chakchandahar village, lamented the impact on agriculture, stating, "The bridge would have benefited us a lot."

Cattle traders like Mosharraf from Madhavpur village face challenges transporting livestock to markets due to the lack of a functioning bridge. The situation has compelled them to travel long distances to sustain their businesses.

The incomplete bridge is not only affecting livelihoods but also disrupting the daily lives of students. Jannat Islam, a school student, highlighted the challenges of traveling to school, stating, "If the bridge was there, we could go to school within 5 to 10 minutes."

Local authorities, including Chandahar Union Parishad Chairman Shaukat Hossain Badal and Singair upazila executive officer Dipan Debnath, expressed concern over the prolonged delay. Badal urged swift construction, emphasizing the financial self-sufficiency the bridge would bring to the region.

Executive officer Debnath acknowledged the incomplete state of the Chandahar Bridge and assured ongoing efforts to improve communication between Dhaka's Keraniganj and the southern region. Despite complications, he expressed hope that the work would be completed within the stipulated time of the new contract, addressing the growing concerns of the community.