Published on 12:00 AM, September 14, 2021

Illegal sand lifting worsens Padma erosion in Pabna

Illegal sand lifting worsens Padma erosion in Pabna

Losing all her belongings to the erosion of the mighty Padma, a woman stares at a bleak future. The photo was taken from Aria-Gohailbari village of Chartarapur union under Pabna Sadar upazila. Photo: Star

At least 20 families have been rendered homeless at Aria-Gohailbari village of Chartarapur union under Pabna Sadar upazila and several hundred have shifted their houses elsewhere as the erosion of Padma has taken a serious turn in the area because of illegal sand lifting by an influential quarter.

Villagers demanded that the illegal sand extraction from the river be stopped immediately.

Lawmaker of Pabna-5 Golam Faruk Khandaker Prince also blamed illegal sand lifting for the severity of the erosion after visiting the affected area couple of days ago.

The MP has also asked the Water Development Board (WDB) to take initiative to lessen the impact of erosion in the area and stop the sand lifting.

"My house, my orchard were standing tall a few weeks ago on the riverbank; now a lone coconut tree is standing there in place of them. The erosion has rendered me homeless," Md Wahab Ali Khan, a resident of the village, said.

Influential quarters have been lifting sands setting dredger machines in the river over the last few months resulting into the erosion of the river bank, he claimed.

Helena Khatun, a housewife of Aria-Gohailbari village, who also lost her homestead in the river erosion a week ago echoed Wahab saying that "Because of them (influential quarters) we have been rendered homeless. We requested them to stop sand lifting but they didn't pay any heed to our pleas."

Robiul Haque Tutul, chairman of Chortarapur Union Parishad, said that some 20 homesteads have gone into the riverbed over the last couple of weeks while several hundred people have shifted to other places due to the erosion.

"We took steps to stop the sand lifting, local administration raided the spot and stopped sand lifting several times but it resumed after few days," he said.

Lawmaker of Pabna-5 constituency Golam Faruk Khandaker said, "It is true that illegal sand lifting is main reason behind the erosion. I have ordered the WDB for taking immediate steps to mitigate the impact of the ongoing erosion."

Talking with The Daily Star, Md Mosharaf Hossain, assistant director of Pabna WDB, said encroachers have been continuously lifting sands and digging the river vertically therefore the river bank has been eroding so severely.

"We have already taken initiative to dump GEO bags in the eroding point of the river in a bid to tame the erosion," Mosharaf added.