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Precarious Bridges

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 March 2018 12:00 AM GMT

As of now, even the highways of Assam are in the most deplorable condition. This compels one to think of the ‘low ways’ or the village roads that are far more numerous and extensive than the highways. But that is not the real reason for our concern about rural roads. It is the bridges on these roads that compel us to shudder in fear, especially when we think of little children having to walk over them to school every day. They also make us wish that there could be roads without any bridges on them at all. Almost every day, news on television comes up with shots of rickety bridges that are held together mainly by the will force of the people using them. Bridges on our village roads are so rickety and dilapidated that it is a wonder that they can be used at all. In many cases the bridges on village roads have strips of wood held together by nylon ropes ostensibly provided by the people of the nearest village. All permanent fastenings of the strips of wood—large ils or bolts—have come apart, and the strips of wood are held together with nylon rope. The task of tying up the planks of wood with nylon rope (to keep the bridge from collapsing) is obviously entrusted to the youths of the village. And while cars and trucks cannot go over those rickety bridges, two-wheelers use them all the time. Children going to school also have to use those rickety bridges. One cannot help wondering why the minister concerned has been so completely unconcerned about the hazard to human lives that these bridges constitute. Is it because the minister himself does not have to use such bridges?

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