July 14, 2024, 8:02 pm

Human chain demands removal of Sirajganj WDB’s XEN, SDE

  • Update Time : Saturday, July 6, 2024
  • 10948 Time View
Erosion victims form a human chain on the bank of Jamuna river near Panchil village in Shahzadpur upazila of Sirajganj district on Saturday demanding removal of concerned XEN and SDE of WDB due to massive corruption in Riverbank Protection Project work. Photo: Ashraful Islam Joy
  • Allegation of massive corruptions and irregularities in Riverbank Protection Project involving at Tk 647cr
  • Failure of implementing project in time sparks protest

Ashraful Islam Joy & Sirajul Islam Shishir back from Shahzadpur:

Hundreds of people from different river erosion affected areas in Shahzadpur upazila of Sirajganj district on Saturday formed a human chain demanding removal of Executive Engineer (XEN) of WDB in Sirajganj and its Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE) bringing allegation of corruptions, irregularities and mismanagement in the Riverbank Protection Project involving at Tk 647 crore.

The demonstrators also demanded exemplary punishment to the concerned WDB’s Executive Engineer and SDE after conducting a fair investigation in this regard.

The human chain was formed on the erosion prone bank of the Jamuna river near Panchil village in Shahzapur upazila of the district at around 11:30am with the participation of people from all walks of life including teachers, students, socio-cultural and political personalities.

Among others, Rajab Ali, Convener of the programme, prominent businessman Nuruzzaman, Yasin Sarker and Hazi Aynal Haque spoke on the occasion in the event.

The speakers said, “The government under supervision of WDB in Sirajganj has undertaken a riverbank protection project stretching about 6km area involving at around Tk 647crore. The project work was started in 2021, but the work has not yet been completed due to extreme negligence of the concerned contractors and officials of WDB (Water Development Board) in Sirajganj. The involved persons have been passed days showing several pleas like corona pandemic, fund crisis and price hike of construction materials etc. They have also been extended project deadline year on year. As a result, people of several villages including Brahmangram, Jalalpur, Arkandi, Monakosa, Panchil and Hatpanchil area experienced severe onslaught of erosion by the river Jamuna this year due to strong current during this rainy season. About 200 homesteads, croplands and installations have been devoured by the river erosion with the rising of water level in Jamuna in the last few days. Many more are now under threat of erosion. Those may go into the riverbed any time.”

“If the project is implemented in time along with proper dredging according to the design, locals would not face such erosion in the beginning of monsoon. Due to apathy of the concerned contractors and WDB officials, such situation has been created. Consequently, hundreds of people in the area are being displaced losing their homesteads and other assets,” they claimed.

The agitating people said, “We want removal of the corrupt officials including Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Executive Engineer (XEN) of WDB in Sirajganj and his subordinate Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE) Milton Hossain as they have turned their office into a den of corruption, irregularities and mismanagement.”

The erosion affected people, who took part in the agitation programme, said, “The WDB officials have started placing sand sacks and Geotube along the vulnerable bank of the river. But, their efforts are not coming to help of the people as the work is being hampered due to strong current of the river. If the initiative were taken in the dry season in a bid to protect the riverbank and embankment, such erosion would not experience by the people in the area. In this situation, it is being apprehended that, bulk portion of the government money being spent in the name of emergency work for  preventing erosion by lying Geotube is going to the water. Local dwellers are not getting benefit from it as the erosion is taking serious turn day after day.”

The agitating people urged the government to take immediate steps to provide compensation and rehabilitation for the erosion victims. They also sought permanent solution to prevent such furious erosion by the river Jamuna.

When The Daily Sky correspondent tried to contact with Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Executive Engineer of WDB in Sirajganj, over cell phone for his comment in this regard before filing this report, he did not respond.

 

 

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