Farmer Shahjahan manages his livelihood by selling vegetables in the city markets of the Brahmanbaria. He uses boats to carry vegetables from his hoar village of Lokkhimora.
Due to the poor communication system, the farmer reaches the markets at noon, when customers almost finish their daily kitchen items buying. As a result, he often struggles to get fair prices for his produce.
The struggling days of Shahjahan are about to end as a road connecting his upazila of Bijoynagar to Brahmanbaria is at the last stage of making.
Called "Sheikh Hasina Road", the highway will help reduce the farmer's daily travelling time to only half an hour from the current two hours and get his desired prices.
Like Shahjahan, thousands of people of the Bijoynagar upazila will benefit from the long-cherished road.
Bijoynagar had no direct road communication with the district, Brahmanbaria, earlier. People had to travel to the district via other upazilas – Akhaura and Sarail. Boats were their only means of crossing the haor areas during the rainy season, and they had no choice but to walk during the dry season.
"The Sheikh Hasina Road will bring a brave new world for the region's people," said Shirajul Islam, executive engineer of Brahmanbaria Local Government Engineering Department.
"There were some complications in the acquisition of land for the road. Due to this, the construction work has been slightly delayed. The road is now almost at the final stage of making. Carpeting work will also start soon. After that, the road will be opened," he told The Business Standard.
The road, which construction started in 2016 with a budget of Tk135 crore, will reduce the distance between Bijanagar and Brahmanbaria from about 35 kilometres to 9.5 kilometres.
Cement-concrete blocks have been placed on the two sides of the road to prevent erosion during monsoons. All three bridges on the road have been completed.
The carpeting work will begin after the completion of the approach road of the bridges, project officials said.
Although the construction work is yet to be finished, people are now thronging the Sheikh Hasina Road to enjoy the natural beauty of clear-water hoar with blue sky.
Boon for agriculture, education and economy
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, various seasonal fruits such as mango, litchi, malta and jackfruit worth Tk50 crore are produced in Bijoynagar upazila every year.
Due to the poor transportation system, the farmers cannot take these fruits to the district town on time. The Sheikh Hasina road will help them to do so.
"Every year I earn Tk1 lakh by selling litchi from my garden. I hope my earnings will increase substantially after the opening of the road," said Habib Mia of Champak Nagar union of Bijoynagar.
Bilkis Begum, a resident of Manipur village, said, "Our girls' education remains limited to school. If the road opens, they will be able to go to the city for higher education."
Champaknagar market trader Rasel said they currently need to go to the district markets via Akhaura or Sarail to source their goods, which is time-consuming and costly.
"The road will reduce our transportation costs and time. Customers will also be benefitted."