RAJSHAHI, Aug 4 (UNB): People in Bagmara Upazila, who have faced ordeals of political and religious extremism in recent times, also attribute much of their sufferings to communications problems as many main roads there are little more than dirt tracks and in bad shape.
It is one of the largest upazilas in the country, comprising 16 unions, and such precarious communications network also contributes much to the problem of administration, local leaders said.
Most of the roads linking different important growth centres and wholesale markets are unfit for communications as rain and floods damage those every year.
The important brick-soled roads to wholesale markets and growth centres are Mochmoil-Madariganj, Kutibari-Chanderara, Ekdala-Mohanpur and Majhigram-Mochmoil.
There are also two municipalities--Taherpur and Bhawaniganj--in this upazila. Both are also river ports, and Taherpur is famous for high quality agricultural products.
Although a number of roads leading to the northern city and other places in the district have been metalled long ago, these routes are lying in a dilapidated condition, and are unworthy of use for vehicular movement.
"Such state of the road communications and the vast expanse of the upazila not only hampers movement of people and goods in the important agricultural zone but also creates administrative problem," said Zakirul Islam Santu, upazila Awami League leader and an ex-UP chairman.
He subscribes to a notion of some local people that bifurcating Bagmara into two upazilas might help solve the problems considerably.
Locals said the metalled roads also have recently been left in a ramshackle condition due to the movement of heavy-duty vehicles, used for carrying agricultural commodities, as well as the onslaughts of seasonal floods.
During the rainy season, most of the roads go under water and so traffic on these roads is suspended for long periods, creating immense suffering to the local people and businessmen.
Specially, the farmers and traders suffer more as they cannot afford to take their various products to Taherpur, Bhawaniganj, Madariganj and Mochmoil wholesale markets in Bagmara and other wholesale markets of nearby districts in due time for the bad condition of the roads.
"I don't get a fair price for my farm outputs as I cannot get them to the markets by vehicles in time because of the terrible condition of the roads," said Zahidul Islam of Mohanganj to UNB Correspondent A Razzak.
Locals lamented that their political leaders had assured them before elections that they would construct the roads if they came to power, but their promises have remained yet unfulfilled.
When contacted, local Roads and Highways Department (RHD) sources said there are about 15 important unmetalled roads in Bagmara, but these roads could not be made pucca for shortage of funds.