Safety of citizens and their convenience took a back seat when the authorities caused irreparable damage to three vital bridges during excavation of the Fanai river in Karmadha union of Kulaura upazila.
Unable to ply vehicles on the three heavily damaged bridges, in Ward 8 of the union, locals are now afraid of crossing those on foot for fear of sudden collapse.
Purbahasimpur resident Shakir Ahmed said the bridge in his area -- connecting Central Hasimpur Purbahasimpur (Konagaon) with Laxmipur Rangichhara Bazar and Kulaura areas -- has subsided at least three feet right in its mid section, after the earth underneath its pillar in the river got removed during excavation work.
People's lives are at risk now, as they have to use the hazardous bridge to cross the river during urgent situations, he added.
Sajjad Mia, a resident of Pursai village, said the 60-foot-long bridge in his area -- used by residents of Purshai, Khandigaon, Beri, Hasimpur, Babnia, Karmadha, Robi Bazar, Gutumpur and Rangichhara Bakar areas -- got damaged during the excavation work in the Fanai river.
The third damaged bridge connects East Babnia, Nazur Bari cemetery, Tilla Bari, Nuna and Husnabad areas with Karmadha Union Parishad Road, said Sanju Mia, a resident of Nuna village.
Poor planning in the excavation work of the Fanai river has caused damage to the bridges that are the only means of communications for the locals, said Abdul Malik, head teacher of Kulaura Model High School.
So far, the locals submitted more than two petitions with the offices of upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) in Kulaura and executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Moulvibazar, seeking a suspension order on the excavation work, he said, adding, "But no one is paying heed. Who will take the responsibility [of the damage]?"
Muhib Ahmed, a member of Ward 6 under Karmadha Union Parishad, also confirmed about the submission of the petitions.
Locals alleged that the WDB has been continuing the excavation work despite their request to suspend the work.
Kulaura UNO ATM Farhad Chowdhury said he visited the spot after receiving complaints from locals and he has asked the contractor concerned to strictly follow the design of the project during work.