Plenty of rivers flowing across the country are always considered to be a blessing for Bangladesh. However, this apparent bliss occasionally turns into a curse when riverbank erosion gobbles up vast swath of land and properties, spelling doom for thousands of people every year. The recent rise in riverbank erosion is changing the landscape of many localities. But at the heart of the problem lies the misuse and mismanagement of fund allocated for building sustainable embankments.
The reluctant and overlooking attitudes of responsible authorities have reached such a level that people now have to demand construction and proper maintenance of embankments which is a regular duty of the authorities. Still, the cries of common people were not reach the ears of the authorities. Thus a member of parliament had to attend a session hanging a placard on his neck that reads, “There is no other insistence; we want embankments, not assistance.” Moreover, a couple of weeks ago, an MP had mud slung at him while going to distribute relief materials as people’s only demand was a strong embankment, not relief.
Though the situation is worsening gradually, the authorities concerned seems to be paying no heed to the matter. It is acknowledged that without proper river management, silt management in particular, it would not be possible to make barrages sustainable, but the authorities have failed to take initiatives for silt management to a great extend. They only take short-term projects like building or repairing levees during the rainy season or after any natural disasters as an emergency action, and the rest of the year, keep mum just like the common people. Their silence has caused both direct and indirect economic loss to the country and great human sufferings to the affected people.
The authorities concerned, therefore, must recognise the problems of the people living beside rivers as a national crisis. Constructing sustainable levees and taking regular and proper maintenance measures of them can be the best way to save these vulnerable people and encourage them to contribute to the national economy. It is really inhuman to let these people be exposed to natural calamities every year.