A portion of a village protection embankment went into the Jamuna river near Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge in Kalihati upazila of Tangail on Saturday night, washing away concrete structures and a number of homesteads.
The concrete blocks of around 50-meter area located about 1.5 kilometers south from the main structure of the eastern end of the bridge subsided at night due to the pressure of the river water in Gorilabari Beltia area, officials of Bangladesh Bridge Authorities (BBA) said.
Ahsanul Kabir Pavel, executive engineer of BBA at the sight office in Tangail, told The Daily Star that the reason behind the erosion is natural.
The depth of the river water was 35 feet near the embankment only few days ago but now it increased to 45 feet. As a result, underwater sand was washed away due to strong current in the river and the concrete blocks of the embankment collapsed.
"Now we are dumping Geo textile bags to check further erosion in the area. The permanent works for repairing the embankment will be started in the next dry season," said Pavel.
Local people, however, blamed low quality works of the embankment and said the CC blocks of the embankment collapsed after rainwater entered through the leaks of the blocks.
The bridge authorities constructed a 200-metre embankment in the area in 2003 to protect the land of BBA and houses in the locality from the river erosion. The entire embankment, however, was devoured by the river in 2017 and 2018.
In response to a signed petition of around 250 residents of Gorilabari and Beltia villages, the BBA started building a 450-metre new embankment in the same area last year at a cost of Tk 33 crore to protect the area from the erosion.
The works for constructing the embankment completed this year and the Water Development Board (WDB) was supposed to start building embankment from the end where the BBA ended up, sources at BBA said.
Nazrul Islam Talukder, member of Gohaliabari union parishad, said as the WDB failed to start the works, about 50-metre area at the last end of the newly constructed embankment of BBA was devoured by the river in July last year and many houses in the area were also washed away.
He further added that several hundred homesteads in the area went into the river in the last two years. Locals fear the Gorilabari and Beltia villages and its surrounding areas might have gone into the river if strong embankment was not constructed in the area immediately.
The continuous erosion also threatened the bridge protection embankment as well as the bridge itself in future, he added.
Asked about the matter, BBA Executive Engineer Pavel said there is nothing to be worried about the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Bridge as the damage took place under water at a private land outside the bridge.
Contacted, Shajahan Siraj, executive engineer of WDB in Tangail, said they have been filling sand in the affected area since erosion started in the area in July last year.
Besides, emergency works were also going on at nearby Alipur village, he said.
The works for constructing a guide embankment in the area will be started in the next dry season, said Shajahan.