A gate of Meghla Parjatan Complex in Bandarban remains closed most of the time, obstructing movement of residents of two indigenous neighbourhoods.
Nearly two years ago, Bandarban district administration built the gate to the complex famous for a hanging bridge. There is also a zoo inside.
However, the gate has hardly been useful for the tourists as the hanging bridge is far from it, according to locals. Besides, there is a main gate of the complex and almost all visitors go through that.
The residents of Dalujiri Tongchangya Para and Lalmohan Tongchangya Para use a road on which the new gate was built.
Locals told this correspondent that there was a pocket door in the gate but that was closed following orders of the district's Deputy Commissioner Md Daudul Islam.
Daudul joined office in August last year and ordered to close the gate on January 6 following an altercation with shopkeepers inside Meghla Parjatan, said Nolinisen Tonchangya, an employee of the complex.
“We are facing serious problems as the road is blocked. Our school-going children are suffering the most”, Nolinisen said.
As the pocket gate remains closed, locals are either crossing a barbed-wire fence adjacent to the gate or scaling the gate.
Chandraputi Tongchangya, a 53-year-old woman, said, “Every day I use the road to fetch water but now it has become really difficult to do so because I need to cross the barbed-wire fence.”
“The situation becomes very difficult when someone is sick at night and has to be taken to hospital,” said Shorbolota Tanchangya, another villager.
Demanding immediate steps to free the road, resident Ria Tonchangya said, “My child studies in class-I. He was seriously hurt in the head while scaling the fence on his way to school recently.”
DC Daudul brushed off the villagers' claims and said, “I ordered to keep the pocket gate open until 3:00pm every day.”
Nolinisen Tonchangya, however, said nothing of that sort was happening.
Dilip Banik, former DC of the hill district, said, “I had the gate built two years ago to expand tourism. It was done upon consultation with the villagers. I kept the pocket gate open for the villagers and a key was also given to them.
“We had assured them that the gate would remain open all the time … It is sad that gate has been closed.”