Manikganj residents are helpless against the erosion of the Padma, Jamuna, Kaliganga, and Dhaleshwari rivers. River erosion continues year-round in the district, but the velocity of erosion is greater at the beginning and end of the monsoon season.
River erosion destroys cropland and other important establishments including educational institutions. The Water Development Board (WDB) in the district applies both permanent and temporary measures to prevent this erosion.
Due to the two phases of floods this season, the Manikganj WDB has spent around Tk7 crore to prevent erosion in 25 important places along these rivers.
The WDB in Manikganj is using sand-filled geo bags to prevent erosion.
However, the residents and local representatives of the erosion-prone areas claim that the government funds are being wasted on such preventive measures.
They demanded that the concerned authorities take permanent steps to prevent the erosion.
The Padma and Jamuna rivers flow past the Harirampur, Shibaloy and Daulatpur upazilas of Manikganj district. Every year thousands of families in these areas are affected by the erosion of the Padma and Jamuna rivers.
As a result, Manikganj district is shrinking.
Additionally, the land of the residents along the Kaliganga and Dhaleshwari rivers of the district is also in the grips of erosion. The locals of the areas also demanded erosion be prevented through permanent projects instead of temporary activities.
According to the WDB in Manikganj, river erosion occurs more in the Aricha Ghat area of the Shibaloy upazila, Bachamara, Baghutia, and Charkatari unions of Daulatpur upazila, Dhulsura, Sutalori and Lechraganj unions of Harirampur upazila, Nobogram in Manikganj Sadar upazila plus the Tilli and Baraid unions of Saturia upazila.
During the floods, 250 kilogrammes and 125 kilogrammes of geo bags were thrown in these areas to prevent erosion. It cost Tk7 crore to the Manikganj WDB to prevent erosion in the 25 places of the district.
Afaz Uddin, a resident of Dhulsura union in Harirampur upazila, said the erosion caused by the Padma River continues throughout the year.
"During the floods, they drop geo bags at some points so that they can highlight their work. But the geo bags are of no use in preventing erosion. It is necessary that a permanent dam be built to prevent the erosion caused by the Padma," he added.
Dewan Saidur Rahman, Harirampur Upazila Parishad chairman, said, "Thousands of houses and important establishments in three unions of the upazila have already been washed away by the river. More than a hundred other important structures are awaiting the same fate."
It is not possible to prevent the erosion by using geo-bags alone on the banks of the river Padma, he added.
Main Uddin, executive engineer of the WDB in Manikganj said, the water level of different rivers of the district including the Padma and Jamuna increased during the floods.
"So, emergency work was carried out to prevent erosion in order to protect important establishments around the rivers," he said.
He went on saying, "There is no alternative but to use geo bags to prevent sudden erosion. Though Tk7 crore has been spent on emergency repairs at 25 places in the district, it has saved property worth hundreds of crores," he claimed.
Further, discussions are underway to remove a char that has appeared in the middle of Padma River in Andharamanik area of Harirampur upazila, said the WDB executive engineer.
He also said that the process of taking necessary steps–after sorting out the high-risk areas to prevent erosion–is underway.