A very old bridge of Lalmonirhat railway division is called Teestasetu. The Teesta rail bridge built with nut-bolts has expired almost 78 years, but the construction of the broad gauge Teesta rail bridge has not been delayed.
The Teesta Railway Bridge was built on the Teesta River in Teesta Mauza of Gokunda Union of Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila in 1834 during the British rule. Of which 2,110 feet (643 meters) long, the then British government company Northern Bengal State Railway constructed the Teesta Rail Bridge.
This Teesta bridge has kept the railway connection of the entire country intact including Lalmonirhat-Kurigram-Rangpur. The Teesta Rail Bridge constructed with faceplate-nut-bolts was estimated to have a life span of 100 years at that time. The age of present Teesta Rail Bridge is about 178 years.
According to railway office sources, during the Liberation War in 1971, when Pakistani soldiers bombed the Teesta railway bridge, a part of it was damaged. Later it was repaired and made suitable for train movement. In 1978, a wooden deck was installed on the railway bridge to make it suitable for bus traffic.
In 2012, the Roads and Public Ways Department constructed the Teesta Road Bridge next to the Teesta Rail Bridge when the Teesta Rail Bridge, the gateway to Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts, became impassable. However, 14 trains per day are still plying through the expired railway bridge.
Related sources also said that the railway minister and senior railway officials visited the Teesta railway bridge several times. At that time they assured the construction of new Teesta rail bridge very soon. The locals said that the spans of the Teesta railway bridge are dangerous, noting that the construction of the new bridge is not visible. The train trembled as it passed over the bridge. Then the speed of the train is reduced.
Noor Nishat Jahan, a college student of the area, said that the only hope of the people of the northern region to communicate by train is the Teesta railway bridge. That too is currently at risk. The Teesta Rail Bridge can collapse anytime. Still we travel to college by train, knowing the risk.
Alimuddin of Teesta Par said that many trains pass through this bridge every day. But it is not important to the railway authorities. Due to the indifference of the railway authorities, new bridges are not being constructed. As the rail car goes over the bridge, all the bridges start shaking. You have to cross every day with fear in your mind. We want a new Teesta Bridge to be constructed as soon as possible.
Train drivers Khalilur Rahman and Alamgir Hossain said that according to the instructions of the concerned authorities, the speed of the vehicle was reduced on the Teesta railway bridge. As the bridge is outdated it is vulnerable. There is danger of accidents at any time.
Lalmonirhat Divisional Railway Manager DRM Abdus Salam said that the railway authority has taken the project of constructing a new railway bridge on Teesta in broad gauge design. Work on this is going on. Although there is no word of hope about this project, I hope the project will be implemented.