Allegations have surfaced that a certain quarter with vested interest was delaying the construction of a sustainable embankment despite a sufficient fund allocation from the government
The already dilapidated Kopotakkho River embankment protecting Koyra upazila of Khulna has now developed multiple breaches, causing tidal water to enter the region.
Fear has gripped the coastal people of the area as they worry that the embankment might suddenly collapse, impeding their ceaseless struggle to protect their lives and property from natural disasters every year.
In May last year, tidal waters flooded the homes of thousands in Maharajpur union after the Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan hit coastal Koyra upazila and breached its Kopotakkho River embankment.
Although 11 months have passed since then, a sustainable embankment has yet to be built in the region to protect its people from another potential disaster this monsoon.
Allegations have surfaced that a certain quarter with vested interest has been delaying the construction of a sustainable embankment despite a sufficient fund allocation from the government.
According to several local sources, the 3km dam from Koyra’s Dashalia to Hogla is currently extremely vulnerable.
The embankment has been breached at multiple points and tidal water has been entering the area, seeping through several small and big holes.
Some locals were seen working at several points of the embankment to plug the leaks on Tuesday.
A local fish farmer Matiar Rahman said he was extremely worried about the structural integrity of the embankment.
“At any moment the embankment could collapse and inundate the region, washing away all the fish from my fish enclosure at a moment’s notice,” he added.
Md Nasir, another fish farmer, said he had suffered a loss of Tk2 lakh when the super cyclone Amphan struck the region in May last year.
“I have yet to recover from last year’s losses. On top of that, if another disaster strikes the region this time I will suffer big time,” he added.
Wishing anonymity, some locals said the government had allocated sufficient funds for the repair of the embankment following the cyclone Amphan but the work had been delayed for 11 months. As a result, people remain vulnerable to flooding.
Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) Koyra Section Officer Mashiul Abedin said he was aware of the embankment breach and the intrusion of saltwater in the region.
“The BWDB has already launched emergency measures to repair the breach. Hopefully, there won't be any serious repercussions,” he added.