Illegal sand lifting from the Teesta and Dharla rivers in five upazilas of Lalmonirhat have been continuing for long, posing serious erosion threat to nearby farmlands and homesteads.
First Teesta Bridge and Teesta Railway Bridge in Sadar and Second Teesta Bridge in Kaliganj upazila are also under threat due to the mindless sand lifting.
A group of influential locals continued lifting sand from at least 60 spots along the rivers for long, said villagers.
The spots include Gokunda, Teesta, Kalmati, Kulaghat, Shiberkuti, Parulia, Dawabari, Bhotmari, Madhupur, Dowani Bazar, Saniazan, Bawra, Kuchlibari, Barakhata, Durgapur,Dighaltari, Gaddimari, Gobordhan, Kutirpar, Jamirbari, Parulia Bazar, Durakuti, Bongram and Rajpur.
No one dares to protest against the illegal sand lifters as they are very powerful people having political clout, said locals.
The rivers would devour many areas if the illegal sand lifting continues, they said expressing fear.
Many farmers lost their dwellings and cropland to the rivers during the rainy season last year, said Shaher Ali, a grower of Gaddimari area in Hatibandha upazila.
Another farmer Fazlur Rahman of Gobordhan area in Aditmari upazila said when mobile court conducted drives, the sand lifters left the area, but they returned again after a few days.
Nur Islam, a farmer of Gokunda village in Sadar upazila, said illegal sand lifting continued near the Teesta rail and road bridges in the area.
Atiar Rahman, a resident of Kalmati village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila, alleged that they informed the officials of local union land office about the matter several times, but any step is yet to be taken to stop the illegal sand lifting.
Contacted, Sumon Islam, a member of the syndicate of illegal sand lifters, denied talking on lifting sand from Teesta riverbed in Teesta area under Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila.
Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner (DC) Abu Jafor said he was not aware of this.
He will take immediate steps in this regard after investigation, said the DC.