Thousands of residents in Nageswari upazila, Kaliganj, in Kurigram are facing an uncertain future as many homesteads, cultivable land, orchards, mosquesmand temples have become vulnerable to erosion by the Dudhkumar River.
Many people of Kaliganj, Kachirvita, Kuriarpara, Boloder Vita, Uttar Wabda, Shalmara and Dhanirvita have already taken shelter on a town protection embankment as the erosion has taken an alarming turn in the last couple of weeks, but the Water Development Board seems reluctant to take action to stop the erosion.
Kaliganj Bazar, Kaliganj High School, Shalmara Daklhil Madrasa and Kaliganj union health complex are now on the verge of extinction.
Locals said they had contacted the upazila administration, district administration and WDB, seeking measures to stop the erosion, but none have yet been taken in this regard, which is frustrating for all those affected.
During a recent visit to Kaliganj, Kachirvita, Kuriarpara, Boloder Vita and Shalmara areas, this correspondent found that the people, who had taken shelter on the embankment and built several makeshift homes on it, are leading a wretched life for want of relief and aid. They also face an acute drinking water crisis due to the lack of a tube-well, along with numerous sanitation problems.
Momin Uddin, a resident of Dhanivita village, told the Dhaka Tribune that the government should take prompt measures to save them from erosion.
Krishna Chandra Roy, a resident of Kumria village, said: “I have been rendered homeless by the erosion. Now, my sons have to work as day labourers to maintain the livelihood of our family. We want immediate measures from the government’s end to save us from the Dudhkumar River.”
Kulsum Begum, a resident of the same village, said: “The river has taken all of my belongings, Now I have to stay in someone else’s home. My family and I live in a makeshift house on other people’s land. We don’t want relief from the government; we want a permanent solution to our problem.”
Expressing his disappointment, Chairman of Kaliganj union parishad Nur Islam Mia told the Dhaka Tribune that he had contacted the authorities concerned seeking a solution to the problem, but all of his efforts are in vain.
“Thousands of people in my union parishad have been rendered homeless in the last one year.
“As a public representative, I request the Water Development Board to take measures as early as possible to impede the erosion of the river,” he said.
He also urged the authorities concerned to build a bridge over the river at Kaliganj union to ease road communication for Kaliganj, Madarganj and Kanchkata village residents.
An engineer of the Water Development Board Md Matiar Rahman said they had already sent a proposal to the senior authorities to take measures over the issue.
“After getting the location, we will begin work on controlling the erosion of the river,” he added.