Locals now call it a canal

About 50 thousand people from Amtali and Taltali upazilas use the 35-kilometre-long regional highway, between the upazila towns, to reach district headquarters in Barguna town or divisional headquarters in Barisal town every day.

But the commuters have been facing immense sufferings as a stretch of about eight kilometres of the road, between Manikjhuri to Kachupatra Bridge, has been in disrepair for a long time.

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The dilapidated road, dotted with potholes and craters of all sizes, is a nightmare for commuters and vehicle drivers alike.

The road becomes even riskier during monsoon season when the countless potholes and craters, developed all over the road over the years, turn into huge ditches following light showers. 

Locals said a two-kilometre section of the road — from Arpangashia Bazar to Tarikata — was repaired by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) in 2018. 

But due to the use of substandard material by the development contractor involved and negligence of the then LGED engineer in Amtali upazila Nazrul Islam, the road got severely damaged within such a short time, they also alleged. 

During a recent visit to the road, this correspondent found numerous large potholes, about the width of the entire road, which has turned into ditches after rain. Some of the ditches were as long as 30 yards. A few vehicles that dared to travel on the road were moving at a snail’s pace.

Without some exposed brick chips and gravel in the muddy and treacherous eight-kilometre stretch of the road, it would be difficult for any traveller to imagine if it ever was a road at all.

Shanu Mia, a resident of Tarikata area in Amtali, said the road in the area has been in this state for about two years, but the department concerned did not take any step to repair it till date.

The sufferings of people who need to go to Amtali upazila town or Barguna district town is beyond imagination, said Nasha Hawlader from the same area. 

While talking about the submerged road, Shahadat Hossain, a trader in Arpangasia Bazar, said he would rather call it a canal.

The authorities should repair the road urgently to relieve locals from years of sufferings, he also said.

Bus driver Mojibur Rahman, who drives on Barguna-Taltali route, said accidents are frequent on the hazardous road and despite the fact, he has to risk his life driving his vehicle on it every day for earning his livelihood.

Taltali Press Club President Abdul Motalib said it was difficult for him and other locals to comprehend as to why the vital road was not being repaired urgently when the LGED and other stakeholders are very much aware of people’s sufferings on the dilapidated road.

Asked, Monwarul Islam, LGED engineer in Amtali upazila, said, “I’ve joined my post in Amtali only recently. Necessary steps will be taken to repair the road after gathering necessary information.”