Large scale erosion is resulting from illegal extraction of sand from the river which is in clear violation of a High Court order
Illegal sand lifting in the Sandhya River under Banaripara upazila of Barisal continues to go unabated causing river erosion in the area.
Even though the High Court had issued restrictions against tender procedure and injunction against sand lifting, a number of politically influential people are reportedly continuing to violate the law.
The rapid river erosion is endangering a number of socio-cultural and educational institutions including Iluhar Biharilal Academy, Jambudwip Government Primary School, and the newly constructed building of Masjidbari School and College.
Illegal sand lifting has also affected regions including Shikarpur, Daserhut, Huq Saheber Hut, Laskorpur, and Daberkul in Wazirpur upazila.
On January 17, Banaripara upazila administration conducted a drive led by Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sheikh Abdullah Sadid at Khejur Bari and Dumuria. During the drive, the UNO seized dredgers found in operation and fined their owners.
Local journalists after visiting the area found that sand lifting operations were in vogue at different points of the Sandhya River between Wazirpur and Banaripara upazila.
Whereas last year, after separate writ petitions were filed with the High Court for cancellation of lease permits for sand lifting, the court imposed eight weeks restrictions against tender procedures and injunction against sand lifting in August 2019.
Later, when the lessors appealed against the High Court order, a bench of the appellate division rejected their appeal and upheld the restrictions against lease permits and lifting of sand from Sandhya River in November 2019.
However, as the lessors were politically influential, they continued sand lifting activities ignoring the court orders, creating widespread criticism in the area after reports in this regard were published in the media.
Shah-e-Alam, lawmaker of Wazirpur-Banaripara, said: “Illegal sand lifting is causing rapid erosion in the Sandhya River. Already vast croplands and a number of government primary school buildings were affected.”
State minister for Water Resources Zaheed Farooque visited the affected area and asked the district administration to monitor the illegal sand lifting in the area to prevent further river erosion.