Living in fear of the mighty Padma

19 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

GOALANDA: Riverbank erosion is a common problem along the Padma during the rainy season.

Originally a resident of the Isaeel Shibrampur area in Goalanda upazila in Rajbari Jalil Sikder now lives with his family in a hutment on land in Nasir Sardarpara.

“We were rendered homeless after our house was washed away by the mighty Padma river in front of our eyes last year. Thanks to a benevolent person in Isaeel Shibrampur, we have a roof over our heads,” he says.

And Jalil is also not the lone sufferer. Over the years, several families in the riverine areas of the upazila’s Daulatdia and Debgram unions have been rendered homeless by such engulfing calamity. Some 2,000 families still living in the riverine areas of the two unions are now spending sleepless nights. Their fears are tangible, with monsoon rains barely a week away, reports UNB.

“Every day, the river is washing away some three to four bighas of land. The erosion aggravates during the monsoon when the Padma overflows its banks. It’s high time that the authorities took safety measures without any delay,” says Hazrat Sheikh, a resident of Devgram’s Munshibazar area.

“In the past three years, some 300 families have been forced to abandon their houses in Devgram. What we get from the local authorities after every monsoon is only assurances of better preparedness for next year,” says Ruby Khatun, a resident of Aziz Sardar Para.

Upazila Chairman Mostafa Munshi admits the problem the riverine areas face during the monsoon. “I have sought Rajbari-1 MP Kazi Keramat Ali’s help in this regard,” he says. According to the Rajbari-1 MP, all preparations are underway for starting the construction of an embankment from Ferry Ghat to Debgram Antarmor to prevent erosion.

“The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council will soon begin work on Daulatdia and Paturia Ghat modernisation projects worth around Tk 650 crore,” he says.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Azizul Haque Khan recently visited the affected areas. “For the time being, the Water Development Board is placing sand bags along the ferry ghat,” he says.