Turbulent Teesta wreaking havoc to Kurigram, Gaibndha

Several hundred houses, important establishments and educational institutions have been gobbled up by the Teesta River as its bank erosion has taken a serious turn at Kashimbazar point in Gaibandha and Ulipur’s Bazra union point in Kurigram.

Locals said 300 establishments were devoured by the river in the last two weeks while 20 metres of a road went into the river, snapping communications.

The authorities concerned are yet to take any initiative to save the people and their property, locals said, adding that their human chain protest failed to draw the attention of officials.

The residents of Bazra said they are becoming homeless due to the negligence of the local administration.

“I’ve lost my houses thrice and taken shelter at my in-law’s house but it too was devoured by the river in recent erosion. Where should I go now?” asked Gafur Mia, a resident of the area.

Jarimon, a widow, said she was already struggling to maintain her family. “Where’ll I go with my disabled child now that my house is at risk of erosion?”

Mozammel Haque, a farmer, said he used to own 12 acres of land. “Erosion took away my house seven times and the river devoured my land. Now I’m left with only 30 decimals of land and my house is at the risk of erosion. I have nowhere to go if I lose what’s left,” he said.

The residents of Lakhierpara, Para Sadua, Madaripara, Kashimbazar Haat, Kashimbazar Girls High School, Nazimabad High School, Kashimabazar Senior Madrassah and two primary schools in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha are at risk of erosion.

Besides, 20-metre of Kashimbazar to Ulipur, Chilmari went into the river, snapping road communications. Locals feared that 2,000 families will lose their land and houses anytime if the government does not take swift steps to stop the riverbank erosion.

The residents of Kashimbazar said two-thirds of the area have already gone into the river but the local administration did not take any effective measure to stop erosion.

Some people said they contacted the local Water Development Board but the officials in Gaibandha asked them to contact the officials concerned of Kurigram as Kashimbazar spreads across the two districts.

Ariful Islam, executive engineer of Kurigram WDB, said fund crunch has disrupted the work to prevent erosion.

“Currently, eight-kilometre areas at 67 points of Barhmmaputra, Dudhkumar, Teesta and Dharla rivers under nine upazilas of the district are at the risk of erosion. Work in six-km area at 53 points is being carried out on an emergency basis to tackle the erosion,” he said.

source: UNB