Vol. 5 Num 415 Wed. July 27, 2005  

Someshwary remains an woe to Durgapur
Thousands displaced by erosion every year: Birishiri Tribal Cultural Academy, 125-year-old church and two schools threatened

The five kilometre Shibgonj-Bijoypur pucca road, linking bordering villages with Durgapur upazila, has become unusable due to erosion at many points by the Someshwary river. The erosion has increased after recession of flood water.

After devouring about 3000 acres of land and over 1500 homesteads in six villages, erosion is now threatening the Birishiri Tribal Cultural Academy, a non-government Primary Training Institute (PTI), a 125-year-old Baptist Church and two schools in the area.

The homesteads have been devoured in Shibgonj, Dakumara, Kullagora, Khamarkhali, Boraiundh and Birishiri villages in Durgapur upazila in Netrakona district.

During a recent visit to the area this correspondent saw erosion has displaced ober 6000 people in the villages. They have left homes and moved to temporary shelters.

About 20,00 people in the bordering villages are now suffering as the five kilometre road link has been snapped at several points.

Talking to this correspondent, local people said they urged to the authorities several times to build a. Sumeshwary river protection dam from Shibgonj to Bijoypur, but no initiative has been taken by any quarter so far.

Bibha Sangma, 60, former director of Birishiri Tribal Cultural Academy regretted that though Durgapur upazila is rich in mineral resources like china clay and coal, neither the authorities nor the people's representatives have taken any step to improve the communication system.

Subandu Sarker Pintu, Chairman of Durgapur Pourasava, said the area with large habitations of indigenous people is neglected by the government. The local people appealed to the authorities and even staged demonstrations for improvement of communication system, but to no effect..

MA Karim Abbasi, lawmaker from the constituency could not contacted for comment despite repeated attempts.

Mohammad Alauddin, Executive Engineer of Netrakona Water Development Board (WDB) said they have prepared a project to protect Durgapur town but have none to protect the area from recurring floods and erosion by the Sumeshwary. Floods occur mainly due to onrush of water from across the border and the river's behaviour is almost unpredictable. It would be difficult to stop the flood and erosion as the river turns furious when waters roll down the Garo hills across the border, he said.

A temporary bridge made with bamboo at Boheratoli on the Shibganj-Bijoypur road as the portion of road has been washed away by floodwaters from the Someswari river in Durgapur upazila in Netrakona district. PHOTO: STAR