Three villages have almost disappeared from the map of Babuganj upazila of Barisal due to the increase of erosion of Arial Kha River. Sinherkathi, Lohalia village of Rahmatpur union of upazila and Rafiyadi village of Chandpasha union are disappearing into the river. In addition, severe erosion has occurred in about 5 km including RG Kalikapur and Bhabanipur villages of Chandpasha Union. As the tide water of full moon recedes, new erosion has occurred in these areas.
The traditional Chhota Mirganj market of Rahmatpur Union has been moved to the neighboring area as it was washed away by the river last year. This year again, the market is on the verge of collapse. Chota Mirganj market is once again under threat due to heavy erosion since last Wednesday due to low tide and increase in river flow. The people of these areas no longer want relief. Seek local solutions to prevent erosion.
Going to the ground on Sunday, it was seen that houses and trees on the banks of the river in Sinherkathi village are being moved to other places, trees are being cut. A few shops, 7/8 houses and a few acres of land have been destroyed in the last 4 days of landslides. 26 businesses are at risk. People who have lost businesses, water barges, agricultural land and houses are waiting anxiously.
Shamim, a grocer of Chhota Mirganj Bazar, of Rafiyadi village, said that his company had to be changed four times due to river erosion. Now the shop has been moved due to erosion. The villagers are going to face a crisis of existence. Some have taken shelter in other's houses with their families.
Shipon Gharami, who has been affected by the river erosion 7 times, said that he has lost his house in the river bed 7 times in the past days. Now he fears of river erosion in the area again. Besides, in the last 4 days, some families in this area have become destitute. But so far, no one has helped for them, he said. ‘We don't want government help, we want a permanent solution to prevent river erosion’, Shipon added.
Jamal Hossain Putul, UP member of Sinherkathi area of Rahmatpur Union, said that every year the area faces huge losses due to river erosion. In 2020, Chota Mirganj was completely demolished and the market was evacuated. But within a year, it fell under the influence of erosion again. Already, 4 businesses of the market, assembly, mosque, residence have been demolished and moved elsewhere. Crops of about 300 acres of land have been destroyed by tidal water due to the collapse of the embankment in this area. When the Water Development Board was informed about this, they did not take any inquiry.
Chandpasha UP chairman veteran freedom fighter Delwar Hossain said that hundreds of families in 3 villages including Rafiadi village of my union have already become homeless. The map of Chandpasha and Rahmatpur Union will be threatened if quick action is not taken to prevent river erosion.
Rahmatpur Union Parishad Chairman Mridha Muhammad Akhtar Uz Zaman Milon said that despite repeated requests to all the relevant departments including the Water Development Board, no effective steps have been taken to prevent river erosion.
Mushfiqur Rahman of Barisal Water Development Board told this reporter that a proposal has been sent to the Minister of State for Water Resources seeking allocation to prevent erosion of Arial Khan River. Hope the work to prevent the erosion of that area will start soon.