An amount of over Tk 10.9 million has gone down the drain as a new bridge in Kurigram has collapsed and two others remain unused for long due to the construction of those with substandard materials and without proper planning.
Locals alleged that the bridges constructed as part of rural infrastructure development, do not benefit them as those have become unfit for the movement of vehicles and people for various reasons.
Visiting Fulbari upazila, the UNB correspondent found a bridge at Purbo Dhoniram village in Borovita Union collapsed in August, within three months of its construction, making it unfit for plying of vehicles.
Upazila disaster management department constructed the 40-foot bridge at a cost of Tk 3.1 million and the contractor company completed its construction very hastily, villagers further alleged.
The bridge was opened to traffic in the first week of June but part of it caved in on 11 August due to the use of substandard materials, forcing the locals to build makeshift bamboo bridges on both sides of it.
Some residents of Dhoniram village, including Maqbul Hossain, Sohrab Mia and Chhokku Mia, told UNB that the bridge has collapsed though this year’s flood had no impact on their neighbourhood.
They said transparency is needed in implementing any government project or else the public money will go down the drain.
Contacted, Sabuj Kumar Gupta, Fulbari upazila project implementation officer (PIO), turned down the allegation of corruption in the bridge construction saying that the project was implemented as per the design but floodwaters removed soil from under the bridge.
The name of the bridge, however, was not included in the list of flood-affected infrastructures in the upazila.
Besides, two bridges built in 2017 in sadar upazila have been lying unused as no approach roads have been constructed to make those useable.
Disaster management department constructed the bridges at Hemerkuti of Holokhana union at a cost of Tk 7.8 million.
Some residents of the union, including Fazal Ali, Rahmat Mia, Kader and Hazera Begum, said the government has built the bridges for the benefit of people but they could not use it for a single day since its construction.
They alleged that many such bridges are built under rural infrastructure development projects but those ultimately turn out to be useless due to the absence of proper monitoring and follow-up system.
Contacted, district relief and rehabilitation officer Khairul Anam said, “They haven’t received any such complaint. We’ll investigate if we get such an allegation.”