Two culverts over two canals in Hakaluki Haor area at Shahpur village in Juri upazila remain useless due to lack of approach roads, much to the suffering of thousands of people in the area.
Upazila Project Implementation Officer (PIO) Omar Faruk said a culvert was built on the Gungijuri canal in Shahpur area on Maniksingh Bazar-Rajapur road at the initiative of the Department of Relief and Disaster Management in the fiscal year 2011-12. The work was done at a cost of around Tk 13 lakh.
Contractor Sanjit Das got the work, but he went away without building the approach roads. Later, people of the area filled both sides of the culvert with earth to make a temporary road, but it was washed away during the flood.
Juri upazila Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) Engineer Abdul Matin said they built a culvert on Pacher Khal canal in west Shahpur area under the Annual Development Program (ADP) in the fiscal year 2017-2018.
Zila Parishad member Badrul Islam got the job for around Tk 3 lakh, but the approach roads were not constructed. In order to facilitate movement, a bamboo bridge has been constructed at the initiative of locals.
Thousands of people, including school and college students of Shahpur area, use the two culverts to go to the upazila headquarters every day.
When this correspondent visited the area, he saw that the culvert on the Gungijuri canal is quite steep. Three to four people have to push a motorcycle to reach the culvert, which is around 10 feet high from the road.
Farmers, students and patients are the worst sufferers, said Md Hanif of Shahpur village.
“The culvert could ease our life if there was proper road connectivity,” said Rafiqul Islam of the village.
“W are haor people. We use boat in the rainy season and walk in the dry season. The culverts were made for the people, but we are not getting any help from those. It is only a waste of public money,” said resident Azmol Mia.
Sanjit Biswas of the same area said there is a culvert on the canal, but they cannot use it, adding that they have to use a bamboo bridge. “We are suffering much because there is no alternative road,” he added.
"We raised the matter in the upazila parishad (UzP) development committee's meeting and approached the upazila LGED engineer several times to start the work, but to no effect yet," said Motosin Ali, member of the local ward under Jafornagar UP.
He filed written complaints to the LGED's upazila office and PIO office about the culverts several times, but no progress has been made, he added.
Contractors Sanjit and Badrul said as there was no mention of approach roads in the work order, it was not possible for them to build the roads.
The upazila LGED engineer said the connecting road will be built on both sides of the culvert on the Pacher Khal canal.
“In the monsoon season, the Haor area is submerged underwater, so the work will be done in the dry season,” he said.
PIO Omar Faruk said he joined a few days ago. He will find out about the culvert on Gungijuri canal and take necessary steps.