Locals are now questioning the quality of the repair works alleging embezzlement of government funds
Due to high tide, a portion of the Ghatakhali ring embankment in Koyra Sadar union has been breached.
Several areas including Koyra, Gobra, Ghatakhali and Koyra Sadar have been submerged, causing immense sufferings to the people of Koyra upazila, adjacent to the Sundarbans.
The dam broke early Wednesday just six months after it was repaired following the Cyclone Amphan earlier this year.
Imtiaz Uddin Ahmed, general secretary of Koyra Development Coordination Committee, said the government is providing enough allocation to protect the coastal people from disaster. However, due to the misuse of these allocations, there is no end to the sufferings of the people of Koyra.
Now as the Ghatakhali dam has been breached, the people of Koyra have once again become waterlogged, he added.
“After cyclone Ampan, over Tk85 lakh was allocated to strengthen the Ghatakhali ring dam, but due to negligence, the end result was not sustainable.”
He also said there were several repair projects ongoing in the upazila but none have display boards, giving information about the projects, at the construction sites. “If people knew about the cost of the project, there would be fewer chances of corruption.”
According to the official sources, the water development board is carrying out repair works at 32 points of damaged embankments between polder 14/1 and 13-14 / 2 in Koyra upazila. These works are being implemented through the Direct Procurement Method (DPM).
Locals allege that WDB’s ongoing projects are being carried out without issuing official tenders. The works are given to unskilled contractors resulting in poor dams that are collapsing soon after repair.
Maharajpur Union Chairman Abdullah Al Mamun said he has been working on erosion-prone dams in his union as instructed by the WDB. “I was not given any work order, cost estimate or any other documents. I only follow oral instructions from the WDB. I don’t know how much money was allocated for this work. I will submit a bill of the total cost after completing the work.”
Sudhanshu Kumar Sarkar, executive engineer of Satkhira WDB, said: “The emergency repair works are usually done under the direct procurement method. When the repair works are completed, the cost is measured and billed accordingly.”
Mashiul Abedin, deputy assistant engineer, Koyra WDB, said: “It would take a long time to repair the dams following proper procedures. So the direct procurement method is used instead as an emergency protocol to avoid people’s suffering and major accidents.”