Labukhali ferry terminal under erosion threat
Ferry service at Labukhali point on Patuakhali-Barisal highways is under threat due to erosion by the Paira River in the ongoing rainy season as 362 metres of the protection embankment near the ferry terminal collapsed by tidal surges influenced by cyclone Komen recently.
Thousands of vehicles move regularly through the ferry ghat as it serves as the lone entrance to Patuakhali district through road that also leads to Kuakata beach.
Water Development Board (WDB) built an 800-metre-long embankment to protect the Patuakhali end of Lubekhali ferry ghat from erosion by the Paira River in 1984-85 fiscal year but it was badly damaged by super cyclone Sidr in 2007, Aila in 2009, Mohasen in 2013 and recent Komen, said WDB sources in Patuakhali.
Over 25 dwelling houses were washed away in last two years due to the river erosion in the ferry ghat area, said Abdul Khaleque, a local.
Now the gangway and the pontoon of the ferry terminal are under risk due to continuous removal of earth by strong current, said ABM Kuddus, supervisor of the terminal.
At least 362 metres of the protection embankment in the east side went into the river under the impact of recent cyclone Komen, making the ferry terminal vulnerable and posing the threat of stopping road communication between Patuakhali and Barisal, he said.
Md Jahirul Islam, executive engineer of Patuakhali Roads and Highways Department, said they informed the higher authorities of the matter.
Blocks costing Tk 82 lakh and Tk Tk 19 lakh were dropped in 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years to prevent the erosion and but in vain, Patuakhali WDB sources said.
WDB also tried to protect the ferry terminal by dropping parcopines (a special type of bamboo cages with bricks inside) in November last year but it was washed away totally, said Md Shafiqul Islam, executive engineer of WDB.
"We are trying our best to protect the ferry terminal from erosion but tidal surges wash away areas every year. A team from JAICA is also working on the matter. We will take long-term steps to save the spot as soon as possible," he added.