POST TIME: 9 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 July, 2018 09:49:50 PM
Dharla, Teesta devour several hundred bighas of croplands

Dharla, Teesta devour several hundred bighas of croplands

A man looks on helplessly as the Dharla River continues eroding homesteads and plantations at Mogalhat village in Lalmonirhat sadar during the last couple of days. INDEPENDENT PHOTO

Erosion by the Dharla and Teesta has taken a serious turn at Mogolhat and Khuniagach unions of Sadar upazila and Mohiskhocha union of Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat district.

Several hundred bighas of croplands in Mogolhat, Khuniagach, Kulaghat and Rajpur of Sadar and Mohiskhocha of Aditmari upazila have been devoured by the Dharla and Teesta over the past few days. Some 100 families have been rendered homeless by the erosion in Sadar and Aditmari upazilas of the district and have been shifted to safer places.

At Chawratari, Karnapur and Bumka villages and adjacent areas under the Mogolhat union of Sadar upazila, it was found that more than 100 bighas of farmlands had been eroded by the Dharla over the past week. Many of the villagers were seen cutting off their trees in orchards and bamboo clusters next to the river as erosion was continuing. The water submerged an India-Bangladesh border main pillar and 927 sub pillars last week.

Gobordhon village under Mohishkhocha union was submerged, and many of the villagers shifted their homesteads to safer places, as erosion was continuing in the area.

Abul Hosen, Abu Sufian, Abdul Jabbar and Akbar Ali of Chawratari village said their farmlands had been devoured by the Dharla in the past week. Moimul, another farmer of the village, said his four bighas of land were devoured in the past few days.

The farmers claimed that India had constructed several dams on the Dharla only a few kilometres from the Bangladesh boarder and diverted the water flow. “If the government does not take measures to stop the erosion, several hundred families will become landless and turn beggars,” they argued.

Mosaddek Chowdhury, the chairman of the Mohishkhocha union upazila parishad, said 50 families have been rendered homeless and vast tracts of croplands devoured by the Teesta over the past few days. The victims’ families demanded immediate steps to protect them from erosion and sought help from the government.

The executive engineer of the Water Development Board (WDB) in Lalmonirhat, Abdullah Al Mamun, said the WDB was working on protection and development works in an 8,150-metre area approved by the Joint River Commission (JRC) near the frontier. Both the Teesta and Dharla enter Bangladesh from India after touching various border points in Lalmonirhat. Work on 2,310 metres has already been completed out of 8,150 metres: 4,750 metres in the Teesta, 1,900 in the Dharla, 500 in the Rotnai and 1,000 in the Giridhari.

The government has taken up a project named Frontier River Protection and Development Project Phase-2, worth Tk. 466 crore, in 22 upazilas of 12 districts. A sum of Tk. 90 crore has been allocated for development works in Lalmonirhat. Sources said the works will begin after the current rainy season.