by Nazrul Islam in Dhaka;
The ironical pithy “boat during monsoon and the foot throughout tarried” has become a past for more than three million people living in the north-eastern district of Kishoreganj dominated by its famed water bodies known as “haor.”
Indeed so, the water bodies sparkled in the sun as if celebrating the new status along with the people of the region, who say the day will be written in history as the best gift from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Inaugurating the spectacular 29.73 kilometer Itna-Mithamoin-Austagram all-weather road cutting through the hairs of Kishoreganj district, 90 kilometers from the capital Dhaka, and opening it to traffic using the digital platform due to COVID-19, Sheikh Hasina said on Thursday that the sarcastic saying of “boat during monsoon and the foot throughout tarried” has become a past.
During the monsoon season people got stuck in their homes in villages that turn into small islands as the haor overflows with rivers bursting their banks that criss-crosses are after runoff from the neighbouring hills.
The boat was so far the only way of transportation in the vast haors which becomes turbulent during the rainy days, while in the dry seasons the residents had to travel by foot.
The long-agonizing days is now a past with the opening of the road that cuts hrough the vast waters, making the haors even more picturesque to draw hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the country and abroad.
It came as a blessing for those living in remote villages for generations.
Prime Minister Hasina said it was a gift for the people of this area in the Mujib year on behalf of President Abdul Hamid, who came from the district of Kishoreganj.
The Prime Minister, who hardly goes for outdoor programmes because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, also wished if she could make a trip soon to the spectacular Itna-Mithamoin-Austagram all-weather road, constructed at the cost of 874.08 crore takas.
The road, which connects three upazilas Itna, Mithamoin and Austagram, goes straight through the vast haor in parallel with Dhanu and Baulai rivers. A huge number of travelers had flocked to the area during this monsoon and autumn before the infrastructure was formally opened to traffic.
In 2016, President Abdul Hamid inaugurated the construction of the road, which will eventually be connected to Sylhet-Brahmanbaria road in the future. It paved the way for direct road connectivity between the haor region and other parts of the country, including Dhaka, Sylhet and Chattogram.
The newly built highway has 14 bridges and 62 box-culverts.