Several thousand people living in the villages adjacent to the river Padma under Charghat upazila of Rajshahi district are facing the danger of flood and apprehending their houses as well as the land properties to be washed away as the water level of the Padma River continues to rise for the past one week.
Local people and Officials of Water Development Board in Rajshahi informed that the cause of such sudden rise in water level of the Padma River is due to opening of all gates of Farakka at the upstream of the river and for the recent excessive rainfall recently which have also intensified erosion along the river bank of Raotha, Lalpur, Gopalpur, Pirozpur, Yousufpur, Tangon and Chandanshahar vilages.
An educational institution at Tangon, a mosque in Raotha and several hundred houses of the villages beside the river are being threatened to be washed away by the strong current of rising water of the river at any moment.
Sources said, already several thousand people who used to live in villages beside the river Padma under Charghat upazila have become paupers by losing their houses as well as landed properties due to river erosion. The land and the houses beside the river are being washed away and devoured by the turbulent water every year making many people homeless and landless. The entire Hazarhati mouza, most areas of Chandashahar, Raotha and Pirojpur mouza have been washed away from the map of the upazila.
Tazlul Haque, Member of ward-9 under Charghat union Parishad informed years after years, people living in villages beside the river Padma in Charghat are suffering from flood and losing their houses and landed properties due to erosion of the river. Now, they are spending their days in panic as the water level of the river Padma is rising abnormally. They are afraid that their houses and landed properties might be washed away in the turbulent current of rising water. Abir Hossain (65) of village Chataipara under Raotha informed, the erosion of riverside at Tangon and Raotha villages under Yousufpur union is intensifying day by day. People of the villages are in panic and cannot sleep at night thinking of the possible erosion of the houses and the mosque of the village due to breaching of the newly constructed embankment along the river bank.
Hannan (45) and Mozifa Khatun (40) of village Dattapara under Raotha union informed, their houses are situated some 100 feet away of the river bank. The bank of the river has already started to erode in the current of upstream water and the rain water. If no permanent embankment is constructed along the river during the current season, their houses along with several hundred houses and mosque of the village would be washed away in the river current.
According to sources Charghat upazila is encircled by 20 km of embankment along the river Padma. Houses have been constructed in most of the embankment areas and are inhibited by several thousand people. Eight km of the embankment areas have been encircled by concrete blocks while rests of the areas remained unprotected or with earth and sand fillings. Every year during the rainy season local administration and the Water Development Board officials fill the river banks with sand filled bags to save the raw-embankment of the river. But, in most cases, those bags failed to protect the erosion along the river bank.
Charghat upazila Chairman Alhaj Fakhrul Islam in this connection said during every rainy season, water of the river increases and people living beside the river spent their days in hardship. He further said, steps are being taken to repair the breached part of the embankment by dumping the sites with sand filled bags.
Golam Mortuza, Sub-Assistant Engineer of Water Development Board in Rajshahi informed, a project amounting Tk 722 core 24 lakh has been approved to save houses and lands of the people of Charghat and Bagha upazila living beside the river. Under this project, there will be dredging of 12 kilometre of the river-bed and concrete embankment will be constructed along 5,100 metres of embankment of the river of the both upazilas.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Charghat Syeda Samira said works of construction of concrete embankment along the river Padma would be started soon to save the surrounding villages and landed properties beside the river.