Residents of Koshabandar village in Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon district are living in constant fear of their homes being swallowed by the Tangon river, which is causing extensive erosion of its embankments.
Residents claim they cannot risk staying home anymore with the Tangon flowing barely metres away. Authorities, they allege, have turned a blind eye to the riverbank erosion problem in the area, despite repeated complaints.
Every year, the river is swollen by seasonal rains and the erosion mainly takes place after the water from the monsoon subsides and the brittle soil on the banks collapses.
Despite the erosion eating into the village roads and farm lands, local residents claim, no effective measures have been taken by the authorities yet, and they now live not only under the fear of losing their land but also their livelihoods.
"Some 300 families in the village are spending sleepless nights. The Water Development Board and the local administration have been informed umpteen times," said Golam Mostafa, chairman of the Kosharaniganj union.
"In the past decade, we have lost a one kilometre area stretching from Nakti Bridge Satirghat to Koshabandar graveyard to erosion. Three houses were also washed away in the area during the recent floods," he added.
Officials of the local Water Development Board, however, said that a project for protecting the riverbank from erosion has already been sent to the higher authorities for approval.
"A draft of the project has been sent to the ministry concerned. We are awaiting a response from the government, after which we can proceed," said the executive engineer of Thakurgaon Water Development Board.
When contacted, Tariful Islam, the project implementation officer, told UNB, “A list of affected families has also been sent to the higher authorities concerned.”