Owing to poverty and occupational reasons, many people in the village live near the river, which makes them a victim of erosion
Riverbank erosion along the Garai River is a common occurrence in the remote Gashial mouza in the Magura district.
Residents of the mouza saw the ground virtually disappear into the raging Garai every monsoon. In recent years, erosion has washed away multiple residences in the neighbourhood, displacing hundreds of people.
The residents allege that local authorities have never paid heed to their urgent pleas for measures to prevent erosion of the river bank. As a result, the house of Ajit Sheikh is the last structure standing on the edge.
According to local resident Rustom Biswash, a freedom fighter, a large portion of Gashial mouza has been devoured by the river over the past 50 years. "Erosion is a perennial affair here," he says.
"If the authorities concerned do not act immediately, then the mouza could soon become a barren land," he adds.
In fact, the residents say that some 1,500 acres of land have disappeared in the mouza in the past few years and nearly 35-40 families in Char-Chougachi village are living with the fear of their houses being swept away.
Owing to poverty and occupational reasons, many people in the village live near the river, which makes them a victim of erosion.
The local administration though says that it has dumped more than 15,000 sandbags on the riverbank to prevent erosion in the area. "The sandbags will prevent erosion to a large extent," says Anwar Hossain, a sub-contractor of the Water Development Board.
The local residents, however, have demanded that the authorities build a river embankment in the area to put an end to the problem of riverbank erosion once and for all.
Solaiman Molla, president of River Erosion Protection Committee, says that this is the first time in 50 years that the authorities concerned have placed sandbags, "which is good news for the residents living here".
Mohammad Zakir Hossain, chairman of Dariapur Union, said already the dredging and sand-lifting work have been done.
Engineer Golam Sarwar of Water Development Board, says, "Sandbags have been placed in the 500-metre area along the riverbank and a committee will soon be formed to protect the river. More sandbags will be dumped in phases.”