The approach road to the bridge over a canal on the old Sylhet-Dhaka road collapsed early morning yesterday following illegal sand lifting and incessant rain for the last three days.
Road communication between Sylhet and Dhaka was suspended yesterday following the collapse of the bridge over Chandi Cherra in Ramgonga area under Chunarughat upazila of Habiganj.
A running microbus fell into the gap between the bridge and the road early yesterday. Five passengers were injured and received treatment locally.
Deputy Divisional Engineer of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) Hamidul Islam told this correspondent that a section of the old Dhaka-Sylhet road collapsed near the bridge on Sunday night due to heavy rain and surge of water from the hills.
It will take some time to repair the bridge, he said, adding that it will take three days to build an alternate road.
A good number of bridges have been damaged under the pressure of water and extraction of sand from rivers, making those risky for movement, he added.
Milon Mia, a college student of the area, said he has to suffer a lot as the road is badly damaged and crossing the bridge is risky.
Munem Mia, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver of Chandpur village, said they are facing financial loss due to the damaged bridge.
During a visit to the spot, this correspondent found villagers, including kids going to school, walking on the broken road amid risk of accident. The sufferings of the people increase when rainwater fills the potholes. Vehicular movement on the road has been suspended.
Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon’s (Bapa) Habiganj unit General Secretary Tofazzal Sohel told this correspondent that one cause for the collapse is unabated illegal sand lifting by some local influential people. That has led to the erosion of agricultural land, including villages, of the area, he added.
Former head of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology Narayan Saha, told this correspondent that the main causes of the collapse are sand lifting and felling of trees.
It is important to stop sand lifting to prevent such kinds of accidents, he added.