About 100 acres of arable land in Hasla area of Babla-Hasla union of Kalia upazila of Narail has been swallowed by the Nabaganga river due to illegal sand extraction by dredger, according to locals.
Many houses and crop lands in Hasla and Patkelbari villages have been destroyed.
This year, 13 pucca and semi-pucca houses of nine families have been damaged, two brickfields and more than 300 trees have been washed away by the river, officials said.
Three brickfields and five houses are under threat.
On 1 October, the locals protested demanding a halt in sand mining and asking for a permanent protection of the river bank, but it did not stop the illegal extractors.
It has been learned that three-hundred-year-old Shuktagram Bazar, Shuktagram Kumar and Char Para, Hasla, Chanderchar, Patkelbari and Kanchanpur villages of Babla-Hasla union of Kalia upazila get affected by river erosion every year for over three decades.
“Earlier, 35 trawlers and dredgers were used but now they are using about 15 dredgers. Local UP chairman Mozammel Hossain Pikul protested but nothing changed. I have organised a human chain with hundreds of people in the area and also lodged complaints with the officer-in-charge of Kalia police station, the upazila nirbahi officer and the deputy commissioner but no one has taken any action in this regard,” said Mosharraf.
Hasi Begum of Hasla village said sand is being dredged in front of my home. One of my houses went into the river a month ago. She is now shifting the big house.
Twelve houses including those of Jafrul Mollah, Jomat Sikder and Jabed Khan have been devoured by the river. Besides, the houses of Shamsur Rahman and Tanjila and others are facing demolition. Now many are breaking the houses and shifting themselves.
Belayet Hossain, a member of the union, said crop lands and two brickfields in Patkelbari area adjacent to Hasla Mouza have been washed away by the river. Three more brick kilns and many crop lands are in danger.
Sand contractor Twaki Sardar could not be reached despite several attempts by this correspondent.
However, the lessee Md Mosharraf said sand was not being excavated outside certain sand islands.
He admitted that some lands and houses were damaged. He said, it is true that some crop lands and houses have been affected by erosion.
However, if sand islands are not excavated normal flow of water will be hindered resulting in erosion of the river banks in different places, he said.
Kalia upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Ariful Islam said, after receiving the complaint, he directed the assistant commissioner (land) to investigate it. Legal action will be taken after receiving the written report, he added.