Homesteads, roads and various establishments in Sharankhola upazila are under threat of collapse due to illegal sand lifting with locally made dredgers from local ponds and water bodies.
A section of influential dredger owners and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) contractors have been running the illegal sand trade for long by managing the local administration, alleged local people.
Mud-mixed sand lifting from local ponds, canals and beels is being used in building roads, culverts and bridges in the area, they said, adding that the contractors are using this sand in construction work due to low price of the sand.
Due to use of the low-quality sand, such establishments may collapse anytime, said locals.
Upazila Engineer Chandan Kumar Chakraborty refuted the allegation of using low quality sand in the construction works of LGED.
Despite repeated pleas, local administration and public representatives are yet to take any action in this regard, said locals.
Obaidul Khan of Hogalpati village and Sarwar Khan and Abul Farazi of Amragachhia area, Suman Sharif and Delwar Hossain of Badhal village and Emdul Gharami of Uttar Tafalbari and Bachchu Boyati of Bangla Bazar area in the upazila have at least 12 illegal dredger machines.
Traders using the dredger machines continue lifting sand from local ponds, canals and beels in the areas.
Recently, a few roads in the areas caved in, said villagers.
Md Sohrab Shikdar of Pashchim Baniakhali village in the upazila said a few days ago, to make a bridge on Pashchim Baniakhali canal, some labourers engaged by a contractor lifted sand from the canal behind his house with diesel-run shallow machine.
Due to the illegal sand lifting from the canal, large cracks develop in some of the nearby residences, including his house, said Sohrab.
Protesting the incident, the contractor concerned and owner of the dredger Delwar Hossain threatened to implicate him in a false case, said Sohrab.
Despite repeated attempts, this correspondent could not reach Delwar Hossain.
Over a year ago, due to sand lifting from the canal in front of Mollabari of Lakurtala on Signboard- Sharankhola highway, 100-metre-long from Raenda to Tafalbari at the road caved in.
A number of cracks developed in the houses of late freedom fighters Abdu Haq Hawlader, Shahidul Sharif and Quader Gazi due to indiscriminate sand lifting from the canal.
Assistant Deputy Commissioner Md Kamrul Islam said if the upazila nirbahi officer is failed to take action in this regard, they will depute a magistrate there to bring the culprits to book.