Saturday, 4 December, 2021

Sugandha river devours homestead, croplands

JHALAKATHI: River erosion usually intensifies during the monsoon season but, Sugandha river in the district is reportedly eroding even in winter. The erosion of Sugandha river in the district is becoming more and more severe at present.

Due to this, a large area of Sarai village of Kulkathi union of Nalchiti upazila of Jhalakathi district is about to disappear into the river. Sarai village becomes victim to severe river erosion every year turning hundreds of families destitute through destruction of their homes. The affluent victims are buying land elsewhere and shifting there but, the poor ones are losing everything.

Every monsoon roads, ports, haats-bazaars, schools-colleges, madrasas, mosques, and other institutions of Sarai village are disappearing into the riverbed. This time a part of the village is also eroding in winter taking a terrible turn. The boundaries of Sarai village are decreasing from the map every day.

Since June this year, the erosion of Sugandha Bishkhali and Halta rivers in Jhalakathi district is much higher than last year. A cyclone shelter on the banks of Bishkhali, the entrance to Sugandha river.

The river bank residents of this district are also becoming destitute due to river erosion day by day.

According to experts, unplanned river dredging and high tide waves cause damage to river banks.

Retired college teacher Abdul Jabbar Talukder, a resident of Sarai village, said that the south bank of Sugandha river is eroding every year. About 70 families have been relocated from the river bank in Sarai area in the last few years.

Nur Mohammad of the same area said that many people of Bhangankul of Sarai village have lost all their land and are living on government land along the road. “All the land I own will go to the riverbed in the next 1 to 2 years”, he added.

Retired Tahsildar Haji Abdul Haq Talukder said, “Launches are now moving from the place where I have seen many houses. The river is now approaching my house. I may not be able to stay in my own house in near future.”

A victim Shahidul Islam said, “My childhood house has disappeared in the river. None has taken any initiative to prevent the erosion of this place even in 50 years. My heartfelt appeal to the prime minister on behalf of the villagers is to prevent the erosion of Sarai village.”

Sukhi Begum, a resident of the river bank area said, “Those whose land is eroding are selling the land at a brick kiln causing the erosion to increase even further. I keep small children tied with rope so that they do not fall into the river at night. I cannot even sleep properly, as I feel like I’ll float away in the river.”

Rakib Hossain, Executive Engineer of Bangladesh Water Development Board’s Jhalakathi Water Development Department, said, “We have already visited the eroding areas in Sarai village of Kulkathi Union of Nalchiti Upazila.”

“Our initial survey has been done there by inspection. Now I will send a design data. Once the design data is received, DPP activities will be started there. Once the DPP activities are approved, we will be able to take appropriate action there”, he added.