According to villagers, the disaster occurred due to continuous sand lifting by unscrupulous traders
Erosion by the Jamuna river, due to illegal sand lifting, has hit Beltia and Gorilabari areas in Gohaliabari union since Wednesday, which is very close to the Bangabandhu Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge, in Kalihati upazila.
The river has already devoured at least 28 dwellings, in areas under the union, in the last two days.
According to villagers, the disaster occurred due to continuous sand lifting by unscrupulous traders.
The authorities dumped geo-bags but failed to prevent the erosion that left at least 28 families homeless.
Although law prohibits sand lifting within a six-kilometre radius of a bridge, a syndicate of influential traders, having political connections, continued lifting sand near the bridge with powerful dredgers, the villagers said.
Over 20,000 people in the union are under the threat of erosion, and are passing their days in panic.
When Gorilabari village was visited yesterday, the villagers expressed grave concerns.
"Our tin-shed building, toilet, and tube-well were devoured by the river,” said Fatema Begum adding that they are now living in somebody else's house.
Not only Fatema but also Akbar Ali Akanda, Chand Miah Haji, Abdul Ali Mondol, Abdus Salam, Janab Ali Talukder, Abul Hossain, Korban Ali, Akbar Shikder, Ashraf Ali, Solaiman, Shafiq Uddin, Jahurul Islam, and Khaled Mondol of Gorilabari, and Beltia villages have lost their dwellings due to erosion. They have taken shelter in open spaces, and relatives' houses.
"Many people of the village have lost their houses in the erosion. I have lost my house,” said Akbar Ali Akanda of the village.
During the last rainy season, erosion by the river devoured at least 50 houses, and a 200-metre embankment in the village within a few days.
This year, erosion started in Gorilabari village on May 30, and it devoured over a dozen dwellings so far, said Rashida Begum, an erosion victim of the village.
Tangail-4 (Kalihati upazila) constituency MP Hasan Imam Khan Sohel said work for a permanent embankment in the area, to save the people from erosion, will start in December.
"Each erosion victim will get Tk, 6000, and two bundles of corrugated tins," he also said.