River Erosion in Lalmonirhat

Hundreds of families uncertain about their rehabilitation

Our Correspondent

3 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

LALMONIRHAT: Hundreds of families in Lalmonirhat district are passing miserable inhuman lives in temporary shelters besides roads and river embankments after the rivers -- Teesta and Dharla devoured their homestead and cropland in recent flooding.

People who lived near the rivers are habituated about the floods of this area, they use to store foods to deal with natural disasters but this year due to the corona pandemic, many people have run out of foods earlier, moreover, the flood also lasted for a long time. People along the river said the floods started in late June. The intermittent flooding lasted until the first week of August.

Meanwhile, this year the district was devastated by acute river erosion. As soon as the flood waters receded, severe erosion began on the banks of the river. Cultivable lands along with homestead and croplands were devoured into the rivers. Village after village and settlements were disappeared.

A village named Singimari under Dakhin Balapara mouza in Mahishkhocha union of Aditmari upazila has disappeared in the womb of Teesta just 4 days after the night of Eid-ul-Azha that left 3 to 4 hundred families of the village homeless. Some of them could save their few households but majority of them lost everything in rivers.

As a result, the uprooted people have fallen into extreme misery. They did not have a piece of land for making home for living.

They had nothing to do but take shelter in the bamboo groves of others along the road. Some families also took shelter in nearby graveyard. Miseries of the victims seem to be long lasting as the government has not take any initiative for their rehabilitation and even locals are not enough humanitarian to support the ill fated homeless people rather they are out to exploit them taking chance of their helplessness.

Local moneylenders charging higher interest rate when any affected family seeks loan to meet their immediate needs.

Land owners are taking higher charge for renting lands to homeless families who want to build house.

Azizul Islam, a resident of the village, said the cost of relocation is very high. One house has to sell for relocating two houses. He could not build the other two houses due to lack of land and necessary funds.

Azizul Islam, a day labourer, said that although the government has spoken of rehabilitating the victims, so far the government assistance is water.

Entaj Baudia and Moksed Ali of the same village said that their village was suddenly destroyed on the night before Eid. Houses and households washed away, they cannot remove their all valuables due to floodwaters and manpower crises. They did not even manage a boat offering double rent. As a result, one of two houses were washed away by the Teesta. Although he was able to remove some furniture, he could not build a new house due to lack of land. They demanded quick government assistance.

Meanwhile, the government has made a list of families affected by the severe erosion of the Teesta and Dharla rivers but no assistance has been provided yet.

Shammi Kaiser, assistant commissioner in the district commissioner’s office, who is in charge of the district relief and rehabilitation officer, said food aid and financial assistance had been provided to the affected families at the beginning of the flood.

“A letter has been sent to the ministry seeking allocation for the rehabilitation of the families who have admitted to river erosion in the aftermath of the floods. We have a list and if allotted, they will be rehabilitated soon,” she added.