NOAKHALI, Mar 20: The erosion by the Meghna River is threatening around 29 thousand trees of social forestation programme and houses and homesteads in Hatia upazila of the district.
But, the concerned forest department and Water Development Board (WDB) are deaf to the matter for mysterious reasons.
Around six thousand trees of social forestation programme have been devoured by the Meghna River in the last several years. Besides, due to recent erosion, an embankment at Tankir canal area, many houses and at least 22 thousand trees are also on the verge of extinction.
Noakhali forest department sources said, under a project of WDB and with the initiative of the district forest department, the social forestation was started in 2010-11 fiscal year. At that time, around 29 thousand trees were planted.
But, in the last several years, around six thousand trees went into the river due to severe erosion.
While visiting the areas recently, it was found that due to the erosion at Boyar Char beside the Meghna River, many uprooted trees are lying on the embankment.
Locals said, sometimes people cut the trees and take their major portions with them for use on different purposes while some have gone into the river during full tide.
A local resident and beneficiary of social forestation programme Nizam Uddin said, "Around five to six years ago, WDB built an embankment at Tankir canal area and many trees under the programme were planted there. But, for the last three to four years, the forestation programme has fallen under threat of the continuous erosion of the Meghna River. Almost every day, more and more trees are getting demolished into the river. Besides, many houses, homesteads and croplands have gone into the river."
Chairman of Horny union parishad (UP) Mushfiqur Rahman said, "At least 500 families have lost their houses, homesteads and croplands due to the erosion at Boyar Char in the last three to four years. Those families habited the area after getting affected with erosion elsewhere. But, the WDB did not take steps in this connection. The matter was informed to upazila parishad chairman, upazila nirbahi officer and local lawmaker."
Chairman of Hatia upazila parishad Mahbub Morshed said, "The erosion at Boyar Char has been discussed more than once in the monthly coordination meetings of the parishad, and a letter has been sent to the higher authority seeking steps in this connection."
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Amir Hossain Chowdhury said, "I visited the erosion affected area. At least 5700 trees have already gone into the river. The whole garden is under threat now. I have informed the matter to WDB."
Executive Engineer of Noakhali WDB Zahidur Rahman said, there is no activity of WDB at Boyar Char. But, the 'Char Development and Settling Project-4' is working in this connection at the affected area, he added.