Around 500 acres of farmland and 430 houses of the area have vanished into the Teesta in the past two months. The destitute families are now seeking shelter in the neighbouring areas
It seems like there is no end to the losses of riverbank dwellers living in the Kurigram region, as the ever hungry Teesta continues to devour their farmlands, homes and other properties.
The people of river island Bajra of Ulipur union, Patrakhata of Chilmari union, Parasadua, Lokhiyarpara, Madaripara of Haripur union, all share the same fate. Many places of Rajarhat upazila, including Ratigram, are also experiencing severe erosion.
In the village of river island Bajra, the tearful eyes of Ohila Beuwa, Marzina Begum, Shakhawat and many others speak of their endless sorrows.
The sixty-year-old Ohila Beuwa said, "This is the third time I have lost my house to the river erosion. Now there is no place left to rebuild it. I don't know what to do anymore."
The situation in Kashimbazar, Shundarganj is no different either. Abdur Rahman, one of the many who got affected by the erosion said that 70 houses have been devoured by the Teesta river in the last few days.
Many others, including Akram Hossain and Rostam Ali of the same area, have been seen collecting the last of their belongings to move elsewhere. Some are cutting down trees, some are collecting seedlings from their farmlands.
Around 500 acres of farmland and 430 houses of the area have vanished into the Teesta in the past two months. The destitute families are now seeking shelter in the neighbouring areas.
A part of the Paubo dam in Bajra area has already been destroyed by erosion.
Also, Kashimbazar market, educational institutes, Ulipur-Chilmari road via Bajra, Chilmari-Haripur connecting road of Teesta bridge, all are under the threat of being taken out by the erosion.
Farhad Ali, a journalist, from Bajra said, "The dwellers of the area are gathering bamboo and tree trunks to create dams on their own to tackle the erosion. The Water Development Board hasn't taken any initiatives yet."
The director of non-profit organization Unnoyon Shongothon Jibika, Manik Chowdhury said, "Even though a barrage was built in Teesta's Daliya point, the river was never dredged. Alluvium and sand have been gathering on the riverbed. That's why the river overflows and floods the area."
He added, "Besides, Teesta has become prone to erosion. It erodes when the water level lowers and also when it rises. So we are losing a lot of land to the erosion every year."
Rajarhat upazila Chariman, Zahid Sohrawardi Bappi said, "The constant erosion of Teesta is severe in many villages of Bidyanondo union including Dangra and Ratigram. The Water Development Board has been informed of the matter but they are unable to take initiatives due to lack of budget."
Executive Engineer of Kurigram Water Development Board, Md Ariful Islam said, "I visited the erosion affected area recently. State minister for water resource, Zahid Faruque has also paid a visit there."
"A project proposal of Tk8,100 crore has been sent to the ministry. It is for dredging Teesta in the four districts, including Kurigram, and to build dams," he added.
Ariful also said, "Urgent initiatives will be taken to protect Bajra, Patrakhata, Parasadua, Lokhiyarpara, and Madaripara from the erosion."