Continuous erosion by the river Nabaganga is threatening the homes and livelihoods of 400 families in two villages of Narail’s Kalia upazila.
Around 150 homesteads and 85 acres of arable land of Suktogram, one of the erosion-affected villages, have already been devoured by the river since last monsoon, said locals.
Babura Hachla Union Parisad Chairman Mozammel Hossain Pikul said residents of Suktogram and Hachla villages under his union are spending their days in fear.
Seven families in Suktogram are in serious threat of losing their homes to erosion this year, he claimed.
If Suktogram disappears from the map because of erosion then Halcha would be next in line, he said with concern.
This year, Suktogram villagers are worried that erosion might wash away religious, business, educational and health establishments situated on the bank of the river.
Kuddus, 65, a resident of Kumarpara of Suktogram village, became a homeless day-labourer after the Nabaganga river devoured three acres of his farmland and homestead, last year.
“I am now living with my family in a make-shift shelter on the bank of the river,” he said.
At the beginning of last monsoon, Kumarpara and Charpara adjacent to the Suktogram bazar were devoured by the river, said Ali Molla, a resident of the area.
“Many families in the village have lost everything and became helpless. The homeless families have taken shelter in the bazar along the riverbank and at their relatives’ homes,” he added.
Tobarok, 61, of Charpara has lost 35 acres of his cropland and homestead on 2.5 acres of land to erosion caused by the Nabaganga.
“I am currently living on 15 decimals of land. I don’t know what to do if this land too is devoured by the river,‘’ he said.
Villagers are afraid that erosion would turn severe by the end of the rainy season when water recedes in Nabaganga.
Even the Suktogram Bazar, which Water Development Board (WDB) tried to protect by dumping sand bags on the riverbank, might disappear, said villager Uttam Paul.
The local village market with about 150 shops is notable in the region for livestock and pottery trade, he added.
Narail Water Development Board Executive Engineer Md Shahnoyaz Talukder said, “We have already saved the bazar of Suktogram. Now a brick-field and cropland about 300 metres downstream from the bazar are under threat of erosion. We need fund to stop it.”
He said, necessary steps will be taken if the situation at the village becomes too risky.