No complaints can be lodged against influential sand extractors
The Pouli River dam, protecting Tangail city from land erosion, is now under threat due to illegal sand extraction.
Illegal sand extraction is causing problems to the residents of three nearby villages, as hundreds of heavy trucks ply and damaged the dam to a large extent.
An influential group of people, wielding local Awami League leaders’ name, are extracting sand from the river, and no action is taken on any complaints placed.
During daytime, they extract sand from lands they have taken on lease. However, during the night they use industrial vacuum to extract sand directly from the river.
Back in 2000, the 47km long Pouli River dam was built under the “Compartmentalization Pilot Project” (CPP). Since then the dam has not undergone any renovation, with various parts of it getting damaged to the point of breaking up.
If the dam was to breach, houses, crop fields, schools, mosques, and temples in a massive area will be washed away by water.
Last year, the people of Ramdevpur village in Kalihati upazila repaired the dam in order to protect themselves from being washed away.
However, with the danger of floods looming ahead, their future appear uncertain.
Local people said hundreds of sand trucks ply over the dam every day, damaging the only path they use to commute. They cannot say anything in protest because of the powerful influence of vested quarters. They face life threats if they protest.
Moreover, there is sand everywhere; inside their foods, clothes, and everything else. It is getting increasingly difficult to survive here, they said.
Requesting anonymity, a sand extractor said: “A part of the dam in Mohela was damaged last year, and more parts will suffer the same fate. We have to do what the owners’ say.”
"Many that took lease of the land along the river bank, carry out illegal sand extraction directly from the river. Nobody can say anything to them.”
Tangail’s Deputy Commissioner (DC), Shahidul Islam said: “I have assigned the executive officer of Kalihati upazila to look into this. We will take proper actions to preserve the dam that protects Tangail city.”
• Illegal sand mining going across the Pouli River Dam
• Heavy sand truck movement damaging the dam
• Some parts of the dam are damaged to the point of breaching
• No complaint works against influential sand mine owners
• Locals facing difficulties in surviving - commutes and environmental surroundings are affected
• Without proper measures, river will devour massive areas