Ballots lost in the yawning gap!

Updated on May 01, 2004 08:18 PM IST

Barasat villagers have waited long for a bridge across the Vidyadhari river. Politicians came to them before each election with the same empty promise. And so, 25 villages in the Barasat constituency will boycott polls.

HT Image
HT Image
PTI | ByRajib Chakraborty, Barasat
Villagers of Barasat are angry. They have for long waited for a bridge across the Vidyadhari river. Politicians came to them before each election with the same empty promise — that the bridge would be built. It’s their lifeline, and the villagers have decided that enough is enough.

And so, 25 villages in the Barasat constituency will boycott the polls. The makeshift bridge at Muktarpur, the main link from Deganga to Barasat, has become a veritable death trap.

More than one lakh people of Kadambagachi, Bara, Ula, Naksa, Bara Biseswarpur, Rampur, Pachanshila, Nurnagar and Muktarpur have, therefore, decided to vent their anger against the elected representatives by keeping away from elections.

Thousands of people, including businessman, labourers, servicemen, students and patients are dependant on this bridge. Many small-scale industries, which had planned to set up business in Barasat, have backed off owing to the transportation problem. Even the few brick factories here are planning to shift.

The state government had, two years ago, announced that a concrete bridge would be build here. But villagers noticed that damaged wood and low-quality iron was being used in the construction.

“The construction was started before a panchayat election. We understood their motive and protested. All political parties came to us with various promises and plans, but they were nowhere to be seen after the election,” said Sirajul Mondal, a 55-year-old labourer.

Ramjan Ali, teacher at the Moktarpur High School, said: “We approached Dr Ranjit Panja, Saral Dev, Idris Ali, Ashok Mukherjee and Md Iakub with our plea. But nothing happened.”

“We need a concrete bridge so that we can ferry our goods across the river. It’s very risky to use this bridge,” said Rabin Das, a local resident.

Even daily labourers are facing uncertainty. “Factory owners have told us that they would move out because of the high transportation costs,” said Samima Bibi, a factory worker.

Patients face the worst risk. “An ambulance can’t pass over this bridge. To reach the Barasat hospital we have to take some other way,” said Iakub Ali, a teacher.

Few months ago, Barasat-1 BDO Sanjib Chattopadhyay had a close shave with death when he fell from the bridge. Tarak Bora (25) died after falling from the bridge, now popularly known as Tarak Bora.

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