The people of several villages, including Bhalkutia, Kostapara, and Khanurbari, are fearful with their lands and homes under threat
An sudden and unanticipated bank erosion of the Jamuna River is wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of Bhuapur upazila in Tangail. This has taken away arable lands and homesteads in the last two weeks, and is creating panic, especially among farmers.
The people of several villages, including Bhalkutia, Kostapara, and Khanurbari, are fearful with their lands and homes under threat. Floods have damaged their crops and cattle, leaving them in despair, said local sources.
Jahurul Islam of Khanurbari in the upazila said: “Many houses were submerged in flood waters for the last three 13 days. No action has yet been taken to save the people.”
Houses, schools, and madrasas have been devoured by the Jamuna River in the upazila of the district in a wild water level rise, causing severe river erosion in the past couple of days.
The riverbank erosion has hit several areas hard at a time when Covid-19 is sweeping the country, said Jahurul.
Rafiqul Islam of Kostapara village said erosion has already claimed his home and lands along the river.
When the water level first began to rise, locals urged authorities to take steps to check the erosion, but nothing was done, he added.
“The Water Development Board did not take any effective steps to protect the localities from the dreadful erosion earlier,” he alleged.
The WDB dumped some sacks at Khanurbari, but those bags were filled with earth and not sand.
Tomato, brinjal, chilli and mustard fields went into the river due to the erosion. The erosion has turned acute in the areas.
Another farmer of the village said he cultivated brinjal, tomato and chilli, partly on his own and partly on leased land taking a loan.
Most of his cropland was devoured by the river in the last 10-12 days, he said.
“The way the river is eating up our crops, the burden of the loan will mount on us,” he added.
Lokman Hossain, a local, said several hundred families lost what they had, including their homesteads, to the riverbank erosion earlier.
“Many were trying to eke out an existence growing crops on their arable land. But the untimely riverbank erosion has devastated their lives, “ he said.
Locals urged the administration to take immediate measures.
Contacted, Serajul Islam, executive engineer of the Water Development Board (WDB), said steps have been taken to protect the eastern side of the mouth of the river from the erosion.