'The water level in the river, which has risen due to cyclone Amphan, is expected to remain unchanged throughout next week'
A sudden swelling of the Padma-Jamuna River and heavy rainfall in the past few days in Manikganj have been causing severe erosion near the Paturia and Aricha ferry terminals.
Local residents in adjacent areas say lives and businesses are at risk from the erosion and fear that if prompt measures are not taken to protect the ferry terminals, the south-western districts may abruptly get disconnected from the capital.
The erosion has turned serious at Paturia Ferry Terminal’s 3, 4, and 5 pontoon areas in Shibaloy upazila. Meanwhile, due to the erosion at Aricha Ferry Terminal, several businesses have already been washed away by the Jamuna.
Currently, at least 10 government institutions, numerous businesses and homes are at risk from the river erosion.
Locals are particularly worried about the visible erosion across a 2km area at the river bank situated north of the Aricha Ferry Terminal.
According to them, the water development board (WDB) had dredged the river in a vain effort to prevent river erosion this season, with the erosion now turning severe.
Manikganj WDB Executive Engineer Mayeen Uddin said: “The river has swollen due to the recent cyclone Amphan and the water level is expected to remain unchanged throughout next week. To prevent further erosion near the Aricha Ferry Terminal, we have begun dumping sandbags on the banks.”
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Golam Sadique visited the erosion-affected areas and instructed the engineering department to begin putting erosion control measures in effect.
BIWTA Executive Engineer (Aricha region) Nizam Uddin said: “Sandbags are being dumped on an emergency basis to prevent a further deterioration of river erosion. Weather permitting, the erosion can be brought under control within the next two weeks.”
Meanwhile, repair works have already begun in three areas affected by the river erosion in order to keep ferry services going on the Paturia-Daulatdia route.