Some 30,000 residents of Padmapukur union in Shyamnagar upazila have been spending sleepless nights as the embankment along the Kholpetua River stands threatened due to the riverbank erosion. Locals said the union, basically an island, is one of the worst affected areas of the upazila which were devastated by cyclone Aila in 2009.
The cyclone wreaked havoc on the union and badly damaged the 34-km embankment along the Kabodak and the Kholpetua rivers. Visiting Jhapa, Kamalkati, Chaulkhola, Chandipur and some other villages of the union, the UNB correspondent found that erosion has already damaged different portions of the embankment and the whole dyke may collapse anytime during any high tide. Satkhira, UNB News Agency Reported.
Uttam Kumar Mondol, a resident of Jhapa village, said seven years have passed by since the ‘super cyclone’ hit the area but no initiative has been taken yet for a permanent solution to the problem.
“I can’t sleep at night. The Kholpetua river devoured my homes five times. If it is washed away this time, I’ll have nowhere to go. When flood inundates villages, we get relief from the government. But we don’t want relief, we want the embankment to get repaired properly and immediately,” said Debendranath Mondol, an 85-year-old resident of the union.
Padmapukur union chairman advocate Ataur Rahman said the embankment constructed by the Water Development Board (WDB) got damaged at various points due to erosion by the Kholpetua River. Some sandbags were dumped to check the erosion with the financing from the union parishad but the WDB has not taken any initiative to save the embankment, he said.
Satkhira Water Development Board-2 sub-assistant engineer ANM Golam Sarwar said, “We’ve been visiting the erosion-affected areas every week. The higher authorities have been informed of the situation. If they make any allocation, the renovation work will begin right away.”