Chandpur town is facing erosion threat as a section of the town protection embankment has become vulnerable again, causing worries to its residents and traders living on the banks of the Meghna River.
Locals said in the last five decades, erosion by the Meghna washed away many houses, business establishment and educational and religious institutions.
Wherever there is any breach in then embankment, the Water Development Board repairs it by dumping large stones or concrete blocks or geo bags filled with sand to prevent erosion on an emergency basis but no permanent dam has been constructed till date to protect this important town, they said.
SM Refat Jamil, executive engineer of the Chandpur Water Development Board, said during the last monsoon, geo bags filled with sand were dumped at the vulnerable sites - Puranbazar Dol temple and Harisabha region. Senior officials from Dhaka visited the area to assess the progress, he added.
“Around 3.6-km area of the embankment is vulnerable now. Jamuna Road, Tila Bari, two mole heads of Nayabazar and Puranbazar, Dol Mandir, Harisabha, Ranagoal and some other areas are under threat as the river turns violent during monsoon or stormy weather,” he said.
“At present, 10,000 CC blocks and 10,000 geo bags have been kept ready on the banks of the river to face any emergency situation. Each bag is filled with 300 kg of sand,” he added.
After visiting Harisabha, West Sriramdi, Puran Fire Station, Ranagoal, Tila Bari areas recently, it was found that bags filled with sand have been dumped in many places. In many places, blocks or geo bags were being washed away due to strong current in the river.
Gopal Saha, director of Chandpur Chamber of Commerce, said, “When there was river erosion in our area during the last monsoon, we reported the matter to the Water Development Board. They dumped geo bags but the repair work of the block dam was not done properly.”
“The block dam work was not done in Harisabha area either. These vulnerable areas of Puranbazar are at risk of erosion. In such a situation, we demand immediate measures to prevent erosion. I am seeking the attention of the Water Development Board authorities and our Education Minister Dipu Moni MP in this regard,” he said.
“In November last year, we conducted a survey and study on the vulnerable sites of the dam. I have sent the survey report to the head office,” Water Development Board’ engineer Jamil told news agency UNB.
Asked about the progress of the project to permanently protect Chandpur town, Jamil said, “We have already sent a DPP to the ministry for a permanent embankment to protect the town from erosion. It is currently at the Ministry of Planning.”
Jahangir Akhand Selim, a senior business leader of Puranbazar and president of Industries and Merchants Association, and other leaders said due to the continuous erosion of the Meghna River, Puranbazar, the largest trade centre of the district shrank in the last 50 years.
Every year, when the monsoon and storm season arrive, residents fear that the dam will collapse.
Mostafa Kamal, Shajahan, Shah Alam, housewife Najma Begum, and many others said that they are unable to sleep at night out of fear. Latifa Begum and Bidya Jahanara of Puranbazar’s old fire station area said the same.