Rain worsens water-logging in Bhabodaha
The recent downpour for a couple of days has brought immense sufferings to around 1.3 million people, already affected by water-logging in Bhabodaha area consisting Monirampur, Abhoynagar, Keshobpur upazilas of Jessore and large portions of Phultala and Dumuria upazilas of Khulna district.
The large area is now synonymous with perennial water logging as drainage channels Muktershari, Teka, Shree and Hori rivers have been silted up.
This excessive rain submerged agricultural land and destroyed many houses and at the same time latrines, source of safe drinking water, disrupted communication and the rhythm of daily life. Many educational institutions are shut down following inundation.
"Riverbed siltation is causing prolonged water-logging in south-western part of Khulna division for around three decades but our demand to the government for taking necessary steps to solve the problem failed to bring any result," said Gazi Abdul Hamid, member of a water management committee in Monirampur.
During a recent visit, this correspondent observed that people of many villages of Abhoynagar and Monirampur upazilas are badly suffering due to the situation worsened by rain.
The water has continued increasing, villagers said.
"I have to remain watchful all the time to save my 18-month-old girl Shraboni as she tries to play with water that has entered my homestead," said Mithu Biswas, 41, a housewife of Sundoli village in Abhoynagar.
"All the 14 villages of my union are now flooded by rainwater. People are suffering for drinking water as many tube-wells are under water. All the educational institutions are affected," said Bikash Roy, chairman of Sundoli union parishad (UP).
Shakhor Chandra Roy, chairman of Kultia UP, said 15 villages out of 17 are under water and 10 of them are in a serious condition.
Influential political leaders and musclemen occupied six hundred acres of land of Bhadra, Saltha, Khornia, Horinodi, Thukra-Humkura rivers flowing through Dumuria upazila, setting up brick fields, fish enclosures, houses etc.
As a result, 44 unions of Tala upazila under Satkhira district and Phultala and Dumuria upazilas under Khulna district are affected by water-logging.
In early 1960s, the East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority constructed polders under the Coastal Embankment Project to protect human settlements from tidal surge, cyclone, floods, saline water intrusion etc, said Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) sources.
But the process led to huge silt deposition in the river bed and consequent waterlogging in the nearby areas, they said.
Tidal River Management (TRM) technology might be considered for long-term or permanent solution for raising the low land areas but it will take time.
Probir Kumar Goshami, executive engineer of BWDB, Jessore, said, "As part of our plan to solve the water-logging problem in Bhabodaha, we have sent a project proposal to the authority to excavate nine kilometres of Shree and Hori rivers from Bhabodaha Sluice Gate to Sholgatia."
Shawpon Bhattacharya, lawmaker from Jessore-5, said, "As per decision of a meeting at the ministry concerned, an expert team will visit Bhabodaha area very soon to find a solution to the water-logging problem in the area."