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9 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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PM intervention sought to save Kuakata tourist spot

OUR CORRESPONDENT, Patuakhali
PM intervention sought to save Kuakata tourist spot
These photos taken recently show trees lie uprooted (top) and a section of a concrete structure (bottom) get devoured by the sea on Kuakata beach due to seasonal tides. INDEPENDENT PHOTOS

Kuakata, known for offering spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset, has been losing its attraction because of erosion caused by the furious waves of the Bay of Bengal.

Tourists from various places within the country and abroad visiting Kuakata and locals investors in the tourism industry say they felt frustrated by the erosion at Kuakata during Bengali month of ‘Ashar’.

So, local people, tourists, traders, and businessmen have held rallies, formed human chains and written in the social media, urging the government to take steps to protect Kuakata, an international tourist destination, from continual erosion.

 Although the authorities are aware of the grave erosion threat to Kuakata, effective action is yet to be taken. In order to protect the Kuakata coast, the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) has sent a project report to the ministry of planning, but the file has returned with the recommendation of a more detailed coastal survey. As a result, the fate of the project remains uncertain. Under the circumstances, the locals want PM's intervention in the matter.

A visit to the place revealed that massive waves were hammering the beach at Kuakata. The continuous pounding by rough water had broken down about 12 feet of the road on the Kuakata highway. Hundreds of sandalwood, coconut, mahogany, palm and tamarisk trees that had been reared on the sand by the forest department had been uprooted on the eastern side of the beach. The exposed roots looked like the limbs of skeletons. The beautification sign of Sundari and Shal woods made cottage of Foyez Miya including his grown up coconut garden is already been existence.

Manzurul Hossain, a visitor of Kuakata, said after seeing the examples erosion, “The adoption of effective steps to protect Kuakata has become the demand of the time."

He said steps were not immediately taken, the green fountains, tamarisk gardens, coconut gardens and mangrove forests of Lemburchar forest on the west side of the beach would be eroded. Mostafizur Rahman Sumon, owner of Kings Hotel, said, “I have lost everything. Property worth nearly Tk 1 crore including land and hotel has been lost to the sea.”

Sumon added: “Almost 30 per cent of our land was here, 14 per cent was eroded last year. This year, the land, including the hotel building, was destroyed by the sea. Now only 5 per cent of the land remains here. No one can say how long that will remain. In addition, 5 ft feet of the embankment at the Majhibari point on the west side of the beach has disappeared because of the waves.”

Kuakata municipality mayor and member of the Sea Beach Management Committee Abdul Barek Mollah said, "In order to protect the public toilets for the sake of tourists, there is a continuous effort to protect them with sand sacks and bricks. After the holding a meeting, the municipality will take initiatives to protect the beaches.”

Md. Abul Khaier, executive engineer, BWDB, Kalapara zone, said, "In order to protect the Kuakata beach permanently, the 'Saikat protection project' was sent in the form of a proposal to the ministry concerned. It has been sent back from the planning ministry for further study. The commencement of shore-defence work against sea erosion is uncertain this monsoon season.” He, however, added urgent steps were being taken to firm up the risky embankments and vulnerable portions of the beach by the BWDB.

Patuakhali District Commissioner and President of the Kuakata Beach Management Committee Dr. Md. Mashumur Rahman told reporters, “At least two kilometres of emergency protection measures had been taken to prevent the flooding of the beach along with the scenic tourism park area built on the Kuakata beach. Hopefully this will start soon.”

The BWDB local engineer's office sent the Kuakata beach protection and development project proposal to the higher authorities for approval towards the end of 2017. From there it was sent to the Planning Commission. The work was expected to start in this year after getting its approval. The total cost of implementing the project was fixed at Tk 212 crores.

 

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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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