Erosion by the Padma in Chapainawabganj and Dharla in Lalmonirhat is continuing to devour vast areas of the two districts, leaving many villagers in fear of losing their lands and properties.
Our Chapainawabganj correspondent reports: Over 300 families have become homeless in Debinagar union under Sadar upazila of the district due to erosion by the Padma River.
Locals said over 300 houses, farmlands, bamboo clusters and mango orchards at Danesh Moulvir Tola, Banu Mondoler Tola, Solaiman Mondaler Tola and Harma village went into the Padma during the last few weeks. They said the people are shifting their houses from the erosion-hit places as the river is devouring fresh areas every day.
“Severe erosion by the river has recently forced us to move to a safer place. As I have no land, I took a piece of land on lease from a man where I am now making a tin-shed house for my family,” said Shahidul Islam, a resident of Harma village.
Like him, many poor people are leasing land from villagers and making tin-sheds for their families.
Tanvir Ahmed of the village, a third year (Honours) student of Rajshahi Government College, said Water Development Board (WDB) did not take proper steps in time to stop erosion.
Debinagar Union Parishad Chairman Abdur Razzak Biswas urged the authorities concerned to take steps immediately to protect thousands of people and their properties, including vast areas of cropland and a good number of establishments, from erosion.
Chapainawabganj WDB Executive Engineer Syed Shahidul Alam said they have ordered the contractors to protect Harma area by piling synthetic bags filled with sand along the banks of the river. At least 300 metres of the banks at Debingar and 2.5 kms at Char Bagdanga unions are facing erosion.
They have taken up a project of Tk 118 crore to protect the two unions from erosion and the work will start soon, he added.
Meanwhile, at least 500 people from different villages of Char Bagdanga union formed a human chain yesterday, demanding immediate steps to stop erosion that continues to devour the area.
They formed the hour-long human chain programme in front of the union parishad office at Char Bagdanga under Sadar upazila under the banner of Charanchal Sadharan Janata Parishad. Before that, they brought out a procession from Char Bagdanga Bazar and paraded different areas.
Our Lalmonirhat correspondent reports: Erosion-hit people took part in a special prayer on Friday after the Juma prayers, asking Allah to save them from erosion.
The prayer was held on the embankment of the Dharla River at Shiberkuti village under Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila.
Over 200 homesteads, 20 bamboo clusters, 10 banana orchards and around 300 bighas of croplands in Shiberkuti, Kulaghat, Char Kulaghat and Dakhkhin Shiberkuti villages in Kulaghat union were devoured by the Dharla during the last three weeks, said Kulaghat Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Idris Ali.
At least 1,000 homesteads, many orchards, bamboo clusters and arable lands are under threat of erosion, he added.
“I requested the Water Development Board to take steps to check the erosion, but to no avail,” he said, adding that locals people are trying to check the erosion with bamboo pilings.
Executive Engineer Abu Bakkar said a huge number of textile bags filled with sand were dumped into the river at the most vulnerable spots to check the erosion under an emergency work plan at Kulaghat union. WDB will do permanent work during the dry season, he added.