Gobindganj-Dasghar road in Sunamganj’s Chatak upazila has gone into the gorge of the Boterkhola River due to severe erosion, leading to the complete halt of vehicular movement on the road. A portion of the 500 feet concrete road collapsed into the river in the Singua area of Gobindganj Saider Gao Union last week. Read: Chandpur town protection embankment faces erosion threat again The road served as the lone means of movement of the residents in 50 villages of the upazila, and it has caused immense sufferings to them. The affected villages include Krinchnagar, Harinagar, Shyamnagar, Govindanagar, Nakhrakali, Malikandi, Dasghar, Lakshipur, Bindpur, Barachal, Khalagao, Bhugli, Banarshi, Bagin, Dakshin Para, Uttara Para, Chhaila, Shiran, Alampur, Banglabazar, Digalbak, Nowapara, Srinagar, Kahalla, Auli and others. Read more: Barguna’s Betagi town protection embankment threatened by river erosion amid ‘authorities’ apathy’
Fear has gripped the residents of Betagi municipality of Barguna, as the main town protection embankment is under erosion threat due to the alleged negligence of the authorities concerned. The road constructed on the town protection embankment on the west side of the Launch Ghat has developed big cracks at several places, causing concern over the safety of the adjacent areas. It has left thousands of traders and residents living in fear, especially amid the threat of Cyclone Mocha over the Bay. The Indian Meteorological Department has recently issued a warning about the possible formation of a cyclonic storm called ‘Mocha’ in the southeast Bay of Bengal, which has caused uncertainty about the longevity of the protection dam. Also Read: Many embankments turn vulnerable in Khulna’s Koyra; Fear grips residents Local said the slow progress of the erosion control project has aggravated the situation. Previously, erosion by the Bishkhali river destroyed launch ghats, port, small factories, jute shops, houses, businesses, and public and private institutions, paddy fields, mosques, and madrashas. And now, the dam, upazila parishad complex, passenger camp at launch ghat, hundred years old traditional Kali temple, mosques, and the rest of the municipality are in danger. In 2017, a project was approved to protect the municipality and then secretary to the local government division Abdul Malek laid the foundation stone of the project. The project was halted and the foundation stone is the only visible work of the project. Also Read: Cyclone Sitrang: Flood protection embankment is at risk in Bagerhat Last year, the Executive Committee of the National Ecomic Council (ECNEC) approved a project worth TK 404 crore to protect the municipality and other important areas from the erosion by the Bishkhali river. But Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) has not yet started the project work. The delay in the project has caused anger and frustration among the local residents. The tender process for the protection project is ongoing, according to the WDB Barguna office. Also Read: Khulna: Embankment collapses again Abdur Rob, a labourer who lives on the banks of the river, expressed his fear for the upcoming monsoon season, saying “I don't know what the future holds for us. The way Bishkhali is eroding right now, I can’t imagine what will happen after the monsoon and cyclone ‘Mocha’”. Md. Sohail Howladar, the owner of Jhalkathi Engineering Workshop, said that erosion has been increasing in the area adjacent to his shop for the past few months, with the crack in the paved road dangerously close to his establishment. He said that it is only a matter of time before his shop disappears into the river. Abdul Halim, owner of a sawmill in Kath Bazar, expressed his frustration at the lack of progress by authorities, saying that “Locals have to travel through many alternative routes. I have been hearing for a long time the work will start. But I don't see any progress.” Betagi Municipality Mayor ABM Golam Kabir said, “The Betagi protection dam project was halted but I hope it will start soon.” WDB’s Barguna district’s executive engineer Md. Rakib said he has inspected the condition of the dam. “The matter has been brought to the attention of higher authorities. Necessary measures will be taken for immediate repair of the dam, and the re-tendering process will be initiated soon,” he said.
Illegal sand lifting from the Gorai river in Faridpur has continued for the past two months – posing erosion risks and displacement of those living by the river. Shah Asaduzzaman Tapan, chairman of Dumain Union Parishad under Madhukhali upazila, has been allegedly lifting sand at Dumain ghat, while a company named MNZ Bricks is said to be extracting soil out of a recently formed char close to Kheyaghat in Rayzadpur. On a recent visit to Dumain ghat and the char where local farmers cultivate vegetables, UNB’s Faridpur correspondent saw dredger machines and piles of sand on the bank of the river in both places. A dredger machine driver at Dumain ghat said they extract 8,000 to 10,000 square foot of sand per day. Also read: Illegal sand lifting endangers vast track of farmland
In the 12 years that he has been the priest of a small temple by the mighty Brahmaputra, Ranajit Mandal had never witnessed the river’s fury like this. Not only the temple, but the 50 homes in his native Murkata village were washed away in a matter of days. “I feel like the earth has given way under my feet now. I have been the temple’s priest ever since it was built, I feel really lost now,” Mandal said. Read more: COP27 climate talks begin as world grapples with multiple crises
Around 400 houses across four villages of Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj have been gulped by the Jamuna river in the past one week, officials said on Friday. “Some 400 houses, including 30 of the Ashryan project, have tumbled into the river. Pakurtala Primary School, a mosque and other buildings on the riverbank are now at risk,” said Nasir Uddin, sub-divisional engineer of Sirajganj Water Development Board (WDB). “The receding waters of the Jamuna river are causing erosion,” he said. Also read: Flood situation worsens in parts of Sylhet The WDB engineer said that Shahjadpur, Chauhali, Belkuchi, Kazipur, and Sirajganj Sadar upazila’s low-lying and char areas still remained flooded on Friday. "Many of the important roads also remained under water, disrupting vehicular movement. People are also facing drinking water crisis," he added. Similarly, around 9,106 hectares of Ropa Aman, jute, sesame and other crops have been damaged in the flooded region of the district, according to an officer of district agricultural extension department. Also read: Flood situation improves in Kurigram Shahjadpur upazila nirbahi officer Tariqul Islam said he has already informed the WDB about the extreme erosion and the need for taking adequate steps.
More than 50 houses have been washed away by the Teesta River in two unions of Rajarhat upazila in the last 45 days. Heavy rainfall and the onrush of the upstream water triggered the Teesta river banks erosion, rendering many people living on the river banks homeless. Hundreds of bighas of cropland, trees, ponds, and mosques have also been affected by the river erosion. People of the area have become helpless as the authorities concerned are yet to take any preventive measures to stop river erosion, said locals. Only two kilometers of the 43 kilometers river banks have been protected while the rest area remained unprotected. As a result, houses, trees, and cropland are washed away every year. Educational institutions, bazars and mosques and temples are under threat of erosion, they said. Currently, river erosion has taken serious turn in 6 kilometers area in Gharialdanga and Bidyananda unions of the upazila. The Water Development Board is trying to save the river banks by dumping geo bags in the river as temporary measures. A total of 17 houses of Bogurapara, Ramhori, Kitabgaon, and Burirhat have been devoured by the Teesta River recently despite the efforts of the Water Development Board. Locals have urged the authorities concerned to save their houses and other establishments from the river erosion. Mondol Ali, son of late Bande Ali of Kitab Khan village under Bidyananda union, said, “We live on the bank of Teesta. But there is no option expect dumping geo bags to control the river erosion. I have no idea how we will survive here. We have no idea how long we can survive here.” Meheron of Ramhori village of Gharialdanga said, “River has taken all of my properties including cropland. I have sold trees worth Tk 5 lakh only at Tk 90,000 fearing the erosion in the Teesta River. If the river washes away my house, then we will turn homeless.” Abdul Baten, UP member of No. 1 ward under the Gharialdanga union said, the measures taken by the Water Development Board are inadequate to protect the 6-7 kilometers long area from the river erosion. Also read: Relentless Garai erosion leaves many homeless in Jhenaidah
Villagers in Shailakupa upzila of Jhenaidah district are fighting a losing battle against the onslaught of Garai River. Over the years the river has swallowed homesteads and croplands of hundreds of families -from well-off to poor- leaving them homeless. Many have taken shelter in other people’s lands. Some could still buy new lands with whatever money they had. Abdul Malek Mandal, a resident of Krishnanagar village, is one of them. In past few years he shifted places for at least seven times to escape serious erosion by the river. Once he had a tin-shed house, ten bighas of crop land but now he has become a pauper. Read Dhaleshwari erosion takes serious turn in Keraniganj “The demonic river has taken all I had,” sighed Malek. “There was a time when I used to help others. Now I seek help from others.” There seems to be no respite from river erosion as the residents of Uttarpara in Krishnagar village of Shailkupa upazila in Jhenaidah district have been suffering a lot as the Garai River turned turbulent, rendering several hundred people homeless. Like Malek, many people have lost their houses and land to the river. Also read: Riverbank erosion displacees await rehabilitation Abdur Rahim, another resident of Kerishnanagar village, has to shift his house in six places. Now he is living his life by working as a day labourer. Once 40 families lived in Krishnagar village but now only five families are living there. The river erosion not only shattered their dreams but also made many people poor. People living in the villages have been leading a prosperous life as the Garai River was a blessing for them but as years passed on, the river became aggressive and a vast tract of lands was swallowed by it. Many people have been displaced from their ancestral lands as the erosion takes a serious turn in the village, forcing people to take shelter in another place. During a recent visit to the river bank villages, in Sarutia, Dhalharchandra and Hakimpur unions of Shailkupa upazila, this correspondent found that fear of being homeless by erosion has gripped villagers of three unions.
The government will provide houses and two-decimal land to 9,445 families affected by river erosion, Ashrayan-style in the country, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahman disclosed Tuesday. "There was massive river erosion this year, though the country didn't witness severe flooding. A total of 9,445 families were affected by the river erosion this year. We sent a list of the victims to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. They all will get houses with two-decimal lands," he said at a press briefing. Read: Hasina inaugurates home distribution under Ashrayan-2 Project
Meghna River that has featured in films, poems and folklores has now turned into a curse for villagers living along it. In the last 10 years the river has swallowed croplands, houses, school buildings leaving thousands homeless. It has eroded its banks by its strong tide. The onslaught goes on unabated both during the dry season and the monsoon. Around 170 sq km area in Ramgati and Kamalnagar upazilas of Lakshmipur in the last 10 years as erosion by the river continues, according to data derived by reviewing and analysing government documents and interviewing the residents in these areas. Read Tagore’s historic Kuthibari is threatened by river erosion, locals scream for help Last Monday, Char Balua Government Primary School building in Ramgati upazila collapsed into the riverbed within seconds, a sad portrayal of the helplessness of people in these areas to river erosion. According to the survivors of the Meghna erosion on the Laxmipur coast, the severity of it has been three times more in the last 10 years compared to any time in the past. Lakhs of people had lost their land to Meghna and became homeless during this time. Read Climate migration in Bangladesh may increase 7-fold by 2050: ActionAid In addition to the erosion, abnormal tidal water has been inundating localities and inhabited land , adding to the miseries of the residents.
Over 100 families in Ulipur upazila of Kurigram district have lost their homes to erosion by the Teesta River in just one week. Villages like Arjun in Daldalia Union and Gorai Pier, Dalal Para, Hokdanga and Doctor Para in Thetrai Union of the upazila have been hit hard by the turbulent river. Read:Tagore’s historic Kuthibari is threatened by river erosion, locals scream for help Five educational institutions, two community clinics, roads and one hundred acres of arable land now stand threatened due to the gushing water from the river, locals said. At least 500 families of these areas have turned paupers as they lost their homes and lands in this monsoon alone, the UNB correspondent reported after visiting the affected areas. Ziaur Rahman, a resident of Arjun village in Daldalia union, said,” Although much of the village was devoured by the river, no visible steps have been taken in this regard by the authorities concerned.” The residents of other affected villages also made the same allegations. Read: Riverbank erosion leaves Gashial residents on the edge