Erosion of the Brahmaputra River has rendered homeless several hundred families in Razibpur Upazila of Kurigram.
The river usually turns virulent and starts to erode the riverbanks in the district in post-monsoon, but this time the erosion is taking effect much before the inception of the monsoon.
Locals as well as officials of Water Development Board (WDB) have been pointing to the loss of navigability of the river as the major reason for this untimely erosion.
This correspondent visited the erosion-affected areas recently and found the impact to be severe along several kilometre stretch of the riverbank in Mohonganj Union and the surrounding areas.
Several hundred homes and hundreds of acres of farmland have already been eroded in Mohonganj Bazar, Nayarchar, Newazi, Shankarpur, Hajipara, Fakirpara and Beparipara areas of the union over the last 30 days, according to locals.
As the erosion line approached their household plot in Mohonganj village, Johora Begum and her family had to dismantle and move her house 25 days ago. They took shelter in another house in the neighbourhood.
“We are yet to rebuild the house. Have no money. Members and chairmen [of the Union Parishad] are not giving us any money. And we are not being able to have three meals a day,” she said.
Mohonganj Union Parishad Chairman Anwar Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune that he had by this time requested the upazila chairman and the government’s department concerned to take the measures to stop river erosion.
“No step has been taken. They only give us assurance that steps will be taken after the allocations are made,” he said.
WDB's Kurigram office Executive Engineer Md Shafiqul Islam said that they had taken up a project to protect about 7.5km riverbank in erosion-prone Razibpur and Roumari upazilas.
Another project to dredge about 20km of the Brahmaputra River and for the protection of the riverbank is currently under process.
“This year, allocations have been made for about 330-metre riverbank protection and the works will begin very soon,” he added.