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Construction work of Hajiganj-Dakatiya Bridge has not been completed in 4 years

The construction work of Hajiganj-Dakatiya bridge has not been completed in 4 years. The construction of the much-anticipated bridge over the Dakatia River at Hajiganj in Chandpur at a cost of Tk 22.5 crore has not been completed in the last four years, not even halfway too.

Although the construction of the bridge was supposed to be completed on July 20, 2019, about 50 percent of the work is still pending. There is a fear among the locals that the work on the bridge will not be completed within the stipulated time. But the contractor complained that the construction work was not being completed beyond the stipulated time due to land acquisition complications.

According to the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) Hajiganj Upazila Office, local MP Major (retd) Rafiqul Islam Bir Uttam MP proposed to the ministry to build the bridge in view of the demands of the people for a long time. After the approval of the proposal and completion of the tender process, the foundation stone of the 267 meter bridge was laid on 14 May 2017. The construction cost is estimated at 22 crore 49 lakh 48 thousand 14 taka.

Then when the contractor Surma-RBL JV started work, various complications started. At first, the landowners of Barakul village in Barakul union and later the landowners of Toragarh village in the municipal area obstructed the construction work. They even filed a case against Abdul Awal, the engineer (site in-charge) of the contractor. Later, on the instructions of the Member of Parliament, the work started after the local politicians including the Municipal Mayor ASM Mahbub-ul-Alam Lipon addressed the issue with the land owners. But so far the landowners have not got their dues.

An on-site inspection showed that the contractor had asked for one more year to complete the construction of the Toragarh-Barakul bridge over the Dakatia river connecting Toragarh and Barakal East Union under Hajiganj municipality. The landowners on both sides of the bridge sued, and they began work six months after the project’s walk-in was complicated by construction complications. After the commencement of the work, the construction work was delayed for another four months due to the increase in river water in the monsoon. The construction work of the bridge is going on intermittently. Although the construction of the pillars outside the river has been completed, the construction of the pillars on the river side has not started yet. Will have to wait for the rains to end and the river water to recede. However, the construction of girders on the pillars will work, said the site in-charge of the contractor.

Municipal landowners Abdur Rob, Mendu Mia, Shahid Ullah Fakir and Md. Mostafa told the ‘Chandpur Times’ that important land, including their homes, had fallen on the bridge road. “If they are not get compensation, they will have to sit on the road.” So they have demanded compensation. They will have no objection if they get compensation.

The construction work of the bridge was not completed on time, which has caused frustration among the locals. People, especially on the south bank of the river, are worried about the delay of their dreams. They demanded that the construction work of the bridge be completed within the next one year by resolving the issue with the land owners as soon as possible.

Local resident Suruj Mia said, there is a ferry at this place on the river Dakatia. The people of Ramganj in Laxmipur district including Barakul, Sarbatara, Maishamura, Gandhavyapur South, Gandhavyapur North Union have suffered a lot for important work including treatment and education in the Upazila Sadar. Pregnant mothers and critically ill patients, especially those who came for treatment, were fallen the most embarrassed situation. Once the construction of the bridge is completed, the quality of life of the people of the area will increase along with the improvement of communication system. So I demand to build the bridge quickly.

Abdul Awal, engineer (site in-charge) of Surma-RBL JV, a contractor, said the local government engineering department wanted free land for the bridge. When we started the construction work, we started the work 6 months after the walker due to the complexity of land acquisition and non-removal of electrical poles. Then due to the rainy season, the water level of Dakatiya river rises, which stops the work. In the few months I have received, 50 percent of the work has been completed. It will take 1 more year to complete the rest of the work including the road on both sides. But it will not be possible to do so even if the land is not acquired within this period and the landowners obstruct it.

Local government engineering department (LGED) Chandpur office executive engineer told Chandpur Times that the complexity of land acquisition will end soon. In order to compensate the land owners, 3 times more than the value of the mouza will be given. And for this I have got approval of Tk. 12 crore. Work has started on the middle part of the bridge. Work on the south bank of the Apos Road has begun and work on the north bank will begin. Hopefully it will be possible to finish the work by next June.

Correspondent: Zahirul Islam Joy, August 27,2021