Volume 2 Issue 63| August 1, 2009 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sirajganj

A New Road to be Taken

Golam Mostafa Jibon

Unity is strength. The char people- those living on the riverbanks- proved this by building a four km road with their voluntary service. The road, built from Salal to Saldaho village in Kazipur upazila of Sirajganj district, has opened the door to a new life and livelihood for about 60,000 people of 50 villages in seven unions of the upazila. Meanwhile these people are already benefitting from the road construction.

According to locals, Monsurnagar is one of the most neglected unions out of the 82 in the district. In need of roads, people have been suffering for years. They had been deprived of medical care, education and sound prices for their rice and vegetables. They urged the government several times to build a road from Salal to Saldaho village, but to no effect.

In the meantime, CARE-Bangladesh's Shouhardo programme and NDP (a local NGO) came forward to help and give logistical support to the char dwellers to build a four km road in the remote area.

Mozammel Haque Bokul, Chairman of Kazipur Upazila inaugurated the construction work on May 24, while about five thousand people from different villages of seven unions in the upazila joined hands to help with the project. By lending hands, the people set the example that nothing is impossible if people work towards it together.

On July 14, the construction of the four km long road was completed and the road was opened for the people with an inaugural programme. Mozammel Haque Bokul, Chairman of Kazipur Upazila was Chief Guest, while Monsurnagor Union Parishad Chairman Kamrul Hassan, Kazipur Sadar Union Parishad Chairman Atikur Rahman, Natuarpara Union Parishad Chairman Abdul Quader, CARE-Bangladesh Tangail Regional Programme Manager Jamal Hossain, NDP Project Director Ismail Hossain, Shouhardo Programme Officer Selina Akhter and other elite persons were also present in the event.

Shahid Byapary, 65, of Kumrabari village of the upazila said earlier they could not get their emergency patients to the town level hospital due to the lack of roads. Students could not go to neighbouring schools in the rainy season. Besides, they could not carry their produce such as paddy and vegetables to the marketplace.

But now they are happy, as the road has changed their lifestyle. They are now getting all these opportunities after building the road. Children are now going to school thanks to the road. Produce can be transported to and sold in various markets. This access to the market has boosted their business and improved their standard of living.

Abdus Samad Mondal, Union Parishad Member Habibur Rahman and Azahar Ali of Uttar Salal village said, after implementing the road, many unemployed people have gotten jobs. They are now pulling rickshaw vans and horse drawn carts on this road to earn a living.

Kazipur Upazila Chairman Mozammel Haque Bokul said about 20,000 people from around the area are now benefiting from the road. Now 10,000 bighas of land will be safe from river erosion and floods, while many lands will be cultivable and will regain fertility.

Selina Akhter, Programme Officer of Shouhardo said, the new road has established a good link between the students of chars and five primary schools, four high schools, two colleges and eleven kindergarten schools. The road will be vital to the economic development of the region. The labour of the volunteers has been estimated at around taka 30 lakh.

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