Town protection block collapses at Betagi
BETAGI, BARGUNA, Aug 2: The town protection block under the Water Development Board (WDB) along the Bishkhali River in Betagi Upazila of the district has collapsed due to a four-day heavy rainfall.
The bloc has been breached for swelling water in the river. It is likely to be eroded anytime, locals feared.
It was learnt, on June 15 in 2019 State Minister for Water Resources Colonel (Rtd) Zahid Faruk Shamim, MP, and other ministers inspected the protection embankment. Then they gave assurance of necessary measures in this regard.
Local MP (Barguna-2) Alhajj Shaukat Hasanur Rahman approached for required allocation for the embankment project in the parliament.
Also locals formed human chains for several times in the affected areas in demand of protecting block of the dam. They also held press conference and other programmes. Despite that, there has been no progress.
Other than ministers, the assurance was also made by secretaries, high officials and local public representatives. Now locals cannot trust their assurance. What they want is not assurance but fulfillment of it.
The town protection embankment was breached by Cyclone Sidr on November 15 in 2007, Aila on May 20 in 2009, Mohasen on May 10 in 2013, Fani on May 4 in 2019, Amphan on May 20 in 2020, and at last by Yaas on May 25 this year (2021). But no step has been taken to repair it permanently.
In 2011, the block was built by the contractor. But later he left away the work keeping bamboo, sand and bags. Since then he has been traceless.
A visit found the block getting embedded into the river; the breaching is continuing unabated. For the block sliding, salinity entered locality and burnt leaves of fruit trees.
With rising water in the Bishkhali River, river banking people are starving frequently.
Affected Shuvo Kundo in Kali Mandir area in the Pour-town demanded an effective step from the highest authorities to protect the embankment.
Betagi Municipality Mayor Alhajj ABM Golam Kabir said, for various complications, the town protection dam project had got struck up; already WDB executive engineer has sent a town embankment project to the ministry. "We are hoping to start the work if the project gets approval in ECNEC meeting," he added.
WDB Executive Engineer Kysar Ahmed said, "We have sent a project of dam constructions to the ministry. It included the Betagi Town protection dam. If the project gets approval, we can start the work."
The project has considered four broken areas in the district. The project cost has been fixed at Tk 7.5 crore. It was sent to the ministry in June last.