Published on: Sunday, September 06, 2009
The gravel stretch leading to these villages from the main road is one thing. To make matters worse, the timber bridge located at Mile 5 from Kampung Entilibon had caved in following the prolonged downpour last month.
Thus, villagers now have to brave through the river to reach the other side of the road.
"Doesn't anybody care about the hardship and the life-threatening situation we face daily when crossing the river? Obviously not, because otherwise the bridge would have been fixed long ago," said a teacher of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Kironggu, who wished anonymity.
He stressed that the river could spell calamity in the event of prolonged heavy rain as the strong current would sweep away anything.
"Often the villagers and us (teachers) have to wait until the river water subsides before we are able to walk through it," he said, adding that the road is the usual route for villagers to reach their places of work in the oil palm and rubber areas.
On most days during such weather condition, the people would be stranded by the riverbank for hours as it generally took a long time for the river water to subside.
"Put our government leaders and engineers in our shoes for just a day to see whether they can live without complaining," he said, adding the matter was also brought to the attention of the Prime Minister via email but to no avail.
Besides, the Village Security and Development Committee Chairman had also approached the Government's concessionaire, Kekal Mewah Sdn Bhd, to inquire as to when maintenance would be carried out on the road and the collapsed bridge rebuilt.
"We were told by Kekal Mewah that they will deal with the situation soon as their ongoing road work at Kampung Penangah is over," he said.
However, there has been no new development to date.
Their misery turned uglier when the wooden bridge at Mile 2 in Kampung Entilibon had tale tell signs that it would follow suit soon.
"The soil surrounding the supporting pillars of the bridge had collapsed," he said. Hence, it was decided that only by making their dire situation public through the Daily Express would there be any result.
"More bridges are bound to collapse from Kampung Entilibon to Kampung Kironggu which span about 16km due to erosion at the riverbanks as a result of strong current flowing along its path," he said.
He recalled a four-wheel-drive of a teacher with two passengers inside that almost plunged into the river while trying to cross via the bridge concerned.
On another occasion a teacher and student riding pillion had a narrow escape when their motorcycle skidded on the slippery road and crashed into the bushes.
When no response from Kekal Mewah was coming, the villagers organised a gotong-royong (community clean up) to alleviate those sections of the road which were riddled with large and deep potholes.
"The JKKK chairman of both kampungs had also elaborated the situation to the officials at the Togod District Office," the teacher said.
The representative of Tongod (Telupid) Education Officer came down to assess the situation following the report sent to their office. "The JKKK Chairman of Kampung Kironggu was also interviewed.
"We are also urging the Government to upgrade the gravel road to asphalt and to replace the dilapidated bridges to concrete ones," he said.