50,000 under Ramnabad river erosion threat
Desk Report: About 50,000 people of four villages in Chalitabunia union under Rangabali upazila are under threat of erosion by the Ramnabad river, reports Daily Star.
Chalitabunia union is isolated from the mainland and surrounded by the Agunmukha and Ramnabad rivers. About 1.20 lakh people live in its seven villages. It is protected by a dyke built by Water Development Board (WDB) on the banks of the two rivers.
The dyke has become weak as it was hit by cyclones Sidr, Aila and Mohasen in the last few years. Due to lack of repair for a long time, many points on the dyke collapsed into the river, allowing saline water to flow in and submerge agricultural land.
Erosion has taken a serious turn at Uttar Chalitabunia, Madhya Chalitabunia, Bibir Hawla and Golbunia villages in the union.
Poli Begum, 40, wife of Duda Muftee of Uttar Chalitabunia village, said they shifted their house twice and it may be washed away this year.
“My husband is a fisherman and we live from hand to mouth. Erosion has brought more difficulties for our family of five,” she said, adding that they are not in a position to rebuilt their house again.
Alamgir Hossain, 65, of the same village, said his house was washed away last week, and he is now living in a hut on the dyke. “Once we had a lot of land, but erosion has made us landless,” he said.
Local Union Parishad Chairman Md Fazlur Rahman said a five-km section of the dyke and 30 dwelling houses were washed away in the last two weeks, leaving many families homeless, while farmlands are still being eroded.
“We raised our voice at different levels, including upazila development committee, seeking immediate steps to protect agricultural land and the people, but in vain, he said.
Md Amjad Hossain, sub-assistant agriculture officer of Chalitabunia union, said most Aman seedbeds have been badly damaged by tidal water entering agricultural land and some local farmers are uncertain about cultivating Aman this year.
Considering local people’s interest, the authorities concerned should take steps to repair the dyke, he suggested.
Kalapara WDB Executive Engineer Md Abul Khayer said they will send a proposal to the higher authorities for allocation of funds to repair the dyke. They will take steps after getting allocation, he said.