The village people, mostly belonging to indigenous Garo community, have joined hands to save their homesteads from erosion by the Sumeswari river in Durgapur upazila of Netrakona.
Due to recent back-to-back flash floods for three times and heavy rainfall on various occasions during the monsoon, the people of Kamarkhali village on the banks of the river have faced a serious erosion this year.
Some 100 people have become homeless due to the erosion in Kamarkhali village and taken shelter at different places, said locals.
Many homesteads in the area are also now under serious threat of erosion, but the authorities concerned are yet to take any steps to resist the erosion, alleged villagers.
Talking to this correspondent, Hilarious Ritchil of Kamarkhali village, a student at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKKNIU) in Mymensingh, said the erosion is much more severe than the previous years and it started in July this year following flash floods and took serious turn when the water started receding in August.
At the initial stage, the leaders of "Kamarkhali Jubo Shakti", a local youths' organisation under the leadership of Akorshan Ruga and Daniel Slung Rema, collected bamboos from the locality to prevent the erosion but could not stop it, said Hilarious.
To bring the attention of the administration, they formed a human chain on August 20 and the officials of the concerned department visited the spot the following day and dumped a few sand bags to stop the erosion, he said.
"The officials of Water Development Board (WDB) assured the village people that concrete blocks will be used at the erosion sites and we had waited for the initiative but we are frustrated as no such initiative is taken yet", said Chinga Ritchil, another final year student of Music Department at JKKNIU.
"Finally we managed 400 sand bags with the help of local people. We were trying our best to check the river erosion", said Chinga.
Md Abdul Haque, 70-year-old freedom fighter of Kamarkhali village, said out of his 30-decimal of land, he lost 20-decimal to the river this season.
"There were many fruit and timber trees on the land and I had to support my seven–member family from selling the fruits and I had no alternative income source. The river devoured the trees", lamented Haque.
"Now I have taken shelter one of my neighbours' house with my family members", said the freedom fighter.
Sarothi Ritchil, 52, a neighbor of Abdul Haque, said she lost around 30-decimal of land to the river this year.
The river has also devoured his fruit and other trees, said Sarothi.
Illegal extraction of sand from the river with dredger is another main reason behind the serious erosion, said local people.
Contacted, Executive Engineer of WDB in Netrakona Md Aktaruzzaman said high officials of the department have already visited the spot to take immediate steps to resist the river erosion.
Contacted, Farzana Khanam, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Durgapur, said on an urgent basis, bags are being used at Kamarkhali and Boroikandi areas to check the river erosion.
The massive work for resisting the river erosion will start soon after receding of water, said the UNO.