TURA, Nov 27: More than 200 households across 4 villages near Rongsak in East Garo Hills (EGH) district have been risking their lives on a daily basis to get across the mighty Simsang river using only a hanging bridge that is threadbare.
The area falls under Williamnagar constituency in EGH district and is one of the most neglected places in the district.
The four villages namely Rongsak Songgital, Sawilgre, Gongnaggre and Bansingre which fall on one side of the Simsang have their only connection to humanity through the bridge, including school children who use it to get to schools that lie in the village of Rongsak.
The area had once been a thriving market with buses and commuters coming to and from Tura stopping by to rest and have meals. The situation however has currently changed due to the formation of the NH-44, which has led tourists and commuters to use the new road, abandoning the one that passes through Rongsak.
“We have been unable to repair the dilapidated bridge due to a lack of funds after we built it in 2013. An amount of Rs 25,000 was promised every year to ensure the bridge remained operational by our local MLA, DC Marak, but ever since it being built by us, there has been nothing coming. You can see from the condition of the bridge that it is a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe it will take the death of one of us to finally wake people up to our condition,” said one resident of Bansingre.
The hanging bridge has a drop of over 7 metres from the top and lies on top of the Simsang. It becomes the only connection during the summer due to strong currents of the Simsang which washes away any temporary bridges built by the villagers.
The villagers for now have constructed a temporary bridge on the river bed for now but that will not last the coming summer.
“We contributed Rs 200 per household to set up the alternative route but it is not enough. Our children are the worst affected as they have to cross this place on a daily basis to get to school and we fear for their lives every time they have to get to Rongsak,” said another villager from Sawilgre.
Upon being contacted on the matter, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of EGH, Ram Kumar stated that the matter would be looked into, though the paucity of funds may delay any kind of concrete steps being taken immediately.
“We will look into the matter and try and work out how best to get this done. Currently however the lack of funds may not allow us to work on the matter as quickly as we would like,” said Kumar.