The Financial Express

River erosion fear grips Rajshahi villagers

| Updated: July 09, 2021 10:24:11

River erosion fear grips Rajshahi villagers

River erosion at Boripara village in Netrakona (left), Fulchhari upazila of Gaibandha district — FE Photos

People living in the villages adjacent to the river Padma under Charghat upazila of Rajshahi district are spending their days in panic with the abnormal rise in water level.

The turbulent flow of water from upstream of the river and the excessive rainfall for the last couple of days have also intensified erosion along the riverbank of the villages Gopalpur, Pirozpur, Raotha, Chandanshahar, Yousufpur, and Tangon.

An educational institution of Tangon, a mosque in Raotha and several hundred houses beside the river are being threatened to be washed away by the current of rising water of the river at any moment.

According to sources, already several thousand people who used to live in villages beside the river Padma under Charghat upazila have become paupers by losing their houses as well as landed properties due to river erosion.

The river swallows land and houses every year making many people homeless and landless. The entire Hazarhati mouza, most areas of Chandashahar, Raotha, and Pirojpur mouza have been washed away from the map of the upazila.

Tazlul Haque, member of ward-9 under Charghat union Parishad, informed that people of several villages beside the river Padma are spending their days in panic with the increased water level of the river Padma. Their houses and landed properties might be washed away if the water of the river continues to rise.

Fakir Mohammad (70) and Monsur (60) of village Chataipara under Raotha said the erosion beside the river at Tangon and Raotha villages under Yousufpur union is intensifying day to day. People of the villages are in panic and cannot sleep at night thinking of the possible erosion of the houses and the mosque of the village due to breaching of the newly constructed embankment along the river bank.

Charghat upazila is encircled by 20 kms of embankment along the river Padma. Most of the embankment areas are inhibited by people.

Of the embankment, eight kilometres have been encircled with concrete blocks while the rest of the areas remains unprotected or with earth and sand fillings. Every year during the rainy season local administration and the Water Development Board officials fill the river banks with sand-filled bags to save the raw-embankment of the river. But, in most cases, those bags failed to protect the erosion along the river bank.

Charghat upazila Chairman Alhaj Fakhrul Islam in this connection said during the rainy season water of the river increases and people living beside the river spend their days in hardship. He further said steps are being taken to repair the breached part of the embankment by filling the sites with sand-filled bags and dumping.

Golam Mortuza, the Sub-Assistant Engineer of Water Development Board in Rajshahi, informed a project has been approved to save houses and lands of the people of Charghat and Bagha upazilas living beside the river. Under this project, there will be dredging of 12 kilometres of the river bed and concrete embankment will be constructed along 5,100 metres of embankment of the river of the both upazilas.

Our Netrakona Correspondent writes: Due to incessant rains and mountain slopes, various structures are disappearing in the blink of an eye due to the erosion of the Someshwari river.

Shibganj, Dakumara of Durgapur municipal headquarters of Netrakona, Kamarkhali of Kullagora union, Baheratli, Borikandi, Ranikhong and Farangpara of Sadar union of Durgapur, Chaitati of Birishiri union and several parts of Boripara village have been eroded.

Crop lands, houses, roads and educational institutions are not protected from river erosion. Hundreds of families have become homeless in the last two years due to erosion by the Someshwari.

Going to the spot, it was seen that the people of nine villages in the area are living in fear of erosion as there is no permanent embankment. River erosion is not stopping. Someshwari's coral grass is disappearing. Thousands of people including tribals living on the banks of the river are worried. Traditional Ranikhong Dharmapalli, mosques, temples and schools are under threat due to fresh rise in river water.

In the 2019-20 financial year, the work of dumping geo-bags through six packages in 900 metres started at a cost of around Tk 80 million (8 crore) to prevent erosion, but it has not been completed yet due to slow pace of work. Of the 900 metres of work, only 200 metres have been completed, but the rest of the work remains stalled.

Hundreds of sand-filled geo-bags have been dumped in the eroded areas, but they are being washed away due to lack of supervision by the Water Development Board's Task Force, locals said.

Employees of the Water Development Board dumped sand-filled bags beside a mosque situated near the river Padma at Raotha village of Charghat upazila of Rajshahi — FE Photo

Abdul Haque, a freedom fighter of the area, expressed his anger over the slow pace of the work. He is apprehending severe damage due to the rise in the water level of the river.

Mohan Lal, Executive Engineer of the Water Development Board (WDB) Netrakona district, told this correspondent that the river had eroded many areas due to a fresh rise in water level.

Netrakona Deputy Commissioner Kazi Abdur Rahman said the contractors have been instructed to work very fast to solve the problems of the people in the affected areas.

Our Correspondent from Bogura reports: Houses, plants and cultivable lands are being swallowed by the Brahmaputra River in Fulchhari upazila of Gaibandha district.

Due to heavy rains and rising slopes, the water of the Brahmaputra River continues to rise, causing extensive erosion in several areas. Most of the erosion has started in Katlamari, Galna, Ziadanga, Gazaria Katiyarvita, Bhusirvita and Ratanpur villages of the upazila.

Besides, people in different areas remain scared of river erosion round the clock. The pace of erosion is increasing in the Katiyarvita area of Oria Union.

The people are leaving the area amid agony with their family members. Some are taking refuge on high embankments.

Flood victim Rokeya Begum, 65, of Katiyarvita village in Oria Union, said her house has been devoured by the Brahmaputra River. She has no place to take shelter, she added.

Deputy Engineer of Water Development Board ATM Rezaur Rahman said work would be done to prevent erosion in the 650-metre area from Katiyarvita to Bhusirvita in Oria. The tender process has already been completed, he added.

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