Government takes master plan to check Teesta erosion

Kollol Roy, District Correspondent,


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Kurigram: Every year in Kurigram, thousands of houses, crop lands and various structures are washed away by the river Teesta. As this situation continues year after year, thousands of people on the banks of the river have become destitute by losing everything including land. In this situation, the government is waiting for the implementation of a master plan for the Teesta to prevent the permanent erosion of the Teesta. And in the midst of this waiting, various establishments including houses and crop lands are disappearing in the river.

Although there is no project in Teesta in this situation, the Water Development Board is working on an urgent basis to prevent the erosion of the affected areas. The locals demanded that the government implement mega projects to prevent rapid erosion, even if some areas are temporarily protected.

The fast flowing river Teesta has crossed 43 km through this district. Every year thousands of people on both sides of this river lose their houses and crop lands and become destitute. Although various steps had been taken to prevent the erosion, it is of no use next year. The Water Development Board (WDB) has continued its efforts to prevent erosion by dumping sand-filled geo-bags and geo-tubes to save various establishments and populated areas, including educational institutions, if erosion occurs across both sides of the river during the current monsoon season.

It is learned that along with the rise and fall of Teesta water, erosion has intensified in Rajarhat and Char Gatiyasam, Burirhat, Tayyabkhan, Khetabkhan, Thuta Paikar and Gorai Pier, Dalalpara, Hokdanga, Daktar Para, Arjun and several other areas of Ulipur Upazila. Hundreds of families in these areas have been displaced and are living inhumane lives.

Meanwhile, some eroded areas including Gorai Pier of Tayyabkhan, Burirhat and Thetrai Unions of Rajarhat and Ulipur Upazilas were visited. In this way, some areas are protected on a temporary basis, but due to the strong current of the river in many areas to prevent erosion is not working.

Meanwhile, the people of the area who have been temporarily relieved from erosion got relieved, but their demand is to prevent erosion permanently through the implementation of mega projects. And in those areas where emergency work has not yet started, the people of those areas demand that mega projects be implemented to prevent erosion on an urgent basis as well as to prevent rapid erosion of the Teesta.

Kamal Sarkar, a resident of Tayyabkhan area of Vidyananda union in Rajarhat upazila said, “My house is on the banks of Teesta. When the erosion started, the Water Development Board threw sandbags to stop it. This saved from erosion for the time being, but this sandbag may not be there next year which will go down the river. Then he will have to lose his house in the erosion again. We want quick and permanent erosion prevention measures through mega projects.

Sudha Rani of the same area said, "I have been a victim of erosion several times before and I am still in danger of erosion." We have become destitute due to the erosion of this Teesta. I have a daughter for marriage and I can't even marry her. People came to see the river erosion and left.

Fazlul Haque of Goraipiya area of Ulipur upazila said most of the area of the village has been submerged in the river due to the erosion of the Teesta.

Kurigram Water Development Board Executive Engineer on the Teesta Md. Ariful Islam talking to this correspondent said that heavy rains in the Indian part upstream of the Teesta have caused erosion in some areas of Ulipur and Rajarhat upazilas. However, no Teesta project is underway at the moment. Even then we are preventing erosion by dumping geo bags and geo tubes in the areas where we have major installations. We have asked for an allocation to work on one or two major breakdowns. If allocated, we will be able to work there and protect it. However, we hope that the master plan or mega project with Teesta is in process. If it is approved with the grace of the Prime Minister, then the people on the banks of the Teesta will not have the grief of erosion of the river. Besides, if excavated, the river will also come back to life.

Locals said that if the government's master plan is implemented, thousands of hectares of uncultivated land will be turned into arable land. The two sides of the Teesta will become economic zones. The people on the banks of the river will get relief from being destitute.