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19 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Erosion turns serious in Kamalnagar

Our correspondent, Noakhali
Erosion turns serious in Kamalnagar

Erosion caused by the Meghna river has taken a serious turn, with a flood control embankment being washed away on the southern side of Matabbarhat in Kamalnagar upazila of Laxmipur yesterday (Tuesday).

Local sources say nearly a 200-metre chunk of the dam has been devoured by the river, resulting in houses and other structures situated close to it being swept by the strong current of the river. Nearly 20 shops, houses, a mosque and a bridge have been lost.

The erosion has rendered a large number of people homeless. The owners of shops that still stand have expressed fear that the river would claim their property. They are busy trying to shift their belongings to safer places.

Locals say the erosion assumed menacing proportions on Monday night and continue to pose a serious threat.

Char Falkon union Parishad chairman Ashraf Uddin told The Independent that the erosion had struck Ladua Bazar, an old settlement, taking shops and houses into the river, but the Water Development Board (WDB) took no initiative to protect three unions, including a village and markets, and a mosque and bridge.

“There are about 500 shops. If the erosion is not checked, all the shops and houses will be gobbled up by the river,” he said.

“A stretch of about 10 km of the embankment is still vulnerable. But the WDB could not come here for unknown reasons,” he added.

WDB executive engineer in Laxmipur, Mohammad Musa, told The Independent yesterday (Tuesday) that he was aware of the situation. He said he would visit Kamalnagor to take stock of the situation and initiate steps. “We've sent a DPP (development project proposal) to the ministry in this regard, but the approval is yet to come,” he added.

Local experts, however, allege that a construction firm, Western Engineering, had used low-quality sand and bags. As a result, they were washed away at the beginning of the rainy season.

They saay a 10-km-long dam needs to be built in Kamalnagor upazila.  A one-km protective wall would be of no use at all, they add.

About 15,000 to 20,000 people are trapped in the flood–hit areas. As many as 12 houses, including schools, have been devoured by the river. Most of the areas went under water after heavy rain and an onrush of water from the upstream of the Meghna.

The assistant general manager of Western Engineering said: “We have started work. But only one kilometre of repair work is not sufficient. Around eight to 10 km of dam needs to be built.”

Alamgir Hossain, a local businessman, said recent tides and strong currents affected the west side of Ladua Bazar. They also partially devoured Mattabarhat, he added.

He also said hundreds of families were living in fear and facing immense hardship after losing their shops and houses.

A local doctor, Shamsuddin, said: “We are losing property every day this season.”

The headmaster of a local high school said: “Our school is located beside the market. If the erosion continues, we will lose the school.”  Tidal water had already entered the school ground, he added.

On a visit to  Kamalnagor upazila, this correspondent found four unions, including Char Falkon, Sahabirhat, Char Kalkini and Patwarihat, to be located beside the Meghna. Many homesteads, croplands, educational institutions, cyclone centres and mosques have already been devoured by the river.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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