July 14, 2024, 7:59 pm

Jamuna crosses danger mark near Sirajganj point, erosion takes furious turn

  • Update Time : Thursday, July 4, 2024
  • 7899 Time View
The photo shows that, Mir Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Sirajganj visiting to different erosion affected areas and project sites of WDB including Enayetpur Spar, Jalalpur and Panchil in Shahzadpur upazila.

Negligence of WDB officials in project work blamed for such massive erosion

Ashraful Islam Joy:

As the water of Jamuna river crossed its danger level on Thursday near Sirajganj town protection embankment, the erosion caused by strong current has started devouring homesteads, croplands and other installations one after another in five upazilas of Sirajganj district leaving many residents homeless.

The erosion has taken serious turn at Jalalpur, Panchil, Brahmangram, Arkandi, Monakosa, Syedpur and Veka area in Shahzadpur upazila. A two-storied building, owned by Kobad Master at Panchil village in Shahzadpur upazila devoured by the river erosion on Tuesday last making him distressed. Besides, erosion has increased in several other places of Kazipur, Sirajganj sadar, Belkuchi and Chowhali upazila of the district.

Many people have shifted their homesteads to safer places, while many are passing their days and nights amid concern over erosion.

Locals complained that, illegal lifting of sands by the influential quarters from riverbed throughout the year and random movement of bulkheads are the main reasons behind such furiousness along the river bank.

Though, several initiatives were taken by the concerned WDB to resist the river erosion at different vulnerable places, locals termed the works just eye-wash to the people. The WDB did not complete any work in time sans expanding working deadline and fund allocation.

Geotubes are being laid along riverbank of the Jamuna near Panchil area in Shahzadpur upazila of Sirajganj district. The photo was taken on Wednesday last. Photo: TDS

A project involving at Tk 647croe was taken several years ago (June, 2021) with the aim to construct a riverbank protection dam for about 6.5 km area from Jalalpur to Panchil in Shahzadpur upazila. But, the project has not yet been completed except expanding deadline by presenting several excuses like ‘Corona Pandemic and Fund Crisis’. Practically, bulk portion of the sanctioned money were withdrawn by the concerned contractors in collaboration with some unscrupulous officials of the WDB. Though, the project has progressed nearing to 50 percent in the last four years, the fate of rest portion is still uncertain as it is not possible to implement rest 50 percent of the project work by only a year, insiders said.

Seeking anonymity, an official of the WDB told The Daily Sky that, “We could not complete the project work scheduled to finish by June last due to Corona Pandemic and Fund crisis. We however, are trying to complete the work by next June with one more year expansion. Now, we have adequate fund. Besides, we are trying to protect the vulnerable area especially from Jalalpur to Panchil by lying Geotube (Guotextile tube) along the erosion affected bank. But the effort is going in vain due to strong current of the river as the Jamuna keeps swelling for the last few days with the onrush of water from upstream.”

Earlier in a meeting, Chayon Islam, Parliament Member for Sirajganj-6 constituency (Shahzadpur) assured the erosion affected people to take preventive measure by setting up Geotextile tube along the riverbank. As a part of his pledges, the WDB sanctioned about Tk 3.90 crore to set up 10,000 Geotube along the riverbank from Jalalpur to Panchil. Meanwhile, about 6,000 Geotube have been laid along the bank, while rests 4,000 Geotube have waiting for laying. But, the Geotube setting work with a boat and few numbers of labourers is being hampered drastically due to recent strong current and rain. In this situation, locals apprehending that, the money sanctioned by the WDB for using Geotube may go into the drain.

Locals further complained that, due to starting of placing Geotube in the peak time of monsoon, the effort is not coming to help to the local residents except wasting the government money. If the initiative was taken during the dry season, it will come to help in protecting the riverbank from erosion. But now, all the money is going to river water resulting to make the people displaced.

The sufferers urged the authorities concerned to conduct a fair investigation into the ongoing project work to find out reason behind the delay implementation.

If investigation is conducted, the cat of bag of WDB may come to out, the affected people claimed.

Jiaur Rahman alias Jia Munshi, Chairman of Kawakhola Union Parishad of Sirajganj Sadar upazila told The Daily Sky that, “Several parts of my Union including Hatboyra, Dogachhi, Borokoyra, Chhotokoyra, Kaigari Dorta, Chandal Boyra and Berabari village are now under threat of erosion. Houses, croplands and other installations are going to river bed one after another. Thus, my Union (Kawakhola) is on way to disappear. But, it is painful for us that, the concerned WDB is not taking any mentionable measure to protect the area permanently.”

Md. Jahidul Islam Hira, Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer in Sirajganj Sadar said, “We have taken step to sell a community clinic building on auction due to erosion threat. If few more days are late, the building may collapse in the river.”

On the other hand, the water of Jamuna was flowing 23 cm above the danger mark near Sirajganj town point on Thursday afternoon. Due to rising of water level in Jamuna and its tributaries, many parts especially low-lying areas of the five upazilas in the district have been inundated. Meanwhile, many flood affected people have taken shelter on different high lands and embankment along with women, children and domestic animals.

Mir Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Sirajganj on Thursday visited to different erosion affected areas including Enayetpur Spar, Jalalpur and Panchil in Shahzadpur upazila and asked the concerned officials to take all necessary steps to protect the erosion and flood affected people from their misery. He also assured the ill-fated people to provide all kinds of support on behalf of the district administration.

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