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Erosion threatens Sirajganj protection dam

Staff Correspondent : River erosion took a devastating turn on Thursday devouring about 115-metre fresh area of the hard point of Sirajganj Town Protection Embankment.

Earlier breaches developed at 200-metre portion of the embankment’s hard point and 115-metre area collapsed near Shashan Ghat at about 11:00 am creating panic among inhabitants in the Old Jail area.

The second serious erosion at the hard point in 3 days made local people wary of their future and they went berserk and vandalised the Water Development Board offices at Ranigram and Amlapara. A motorcycle was also set ablaze and some other vehicles were damaged by agitated people. Police charged baton, lobbed

tear gas shells and fired rubber bullets to bring the situation under control that left at least 35 people, including five WDB officials injured.

Local people alleged misappropriation in the repair work of the Tk 3.00 billion dam built by a foreign company about 12 years ago.

On information, police rushed to the spot and lobbed 13 rounds of tear gas shells, fired 21 rounds of rubber bullet and charged baton on the angry mob that left at least 30 people injured.

Of the injured 17 were admitted to Sirajganj General Hospital and others were taken to different clinics.

The fresh erosion at the hard point spread panic among the people adjacent to the area and they were scrambling to find a safer place to shift their houses and valuables.

Deputy Commissioner and other local administration officials said the whole 200-metre stretch of the hard point may collapse any day any time unless appropriate and sincere steps are taken to check erosion immediately.

Sirajganj chapter Water Development Board and local sources said incessant rains in the last five days coupled with onrush of water from upstream bulging the Jamuna river every moment further weakening the hard point, 100 meter of which went into the river bed at 11:00pm on Monday.

Although Jamuna was flowing 13 meters below danger level at Sirajganj point at 6:00pm Thursday the river continued to swell, overflowing its banks in some places near Sirajganj town.

WDB officials said whirl water and strong current weakened foundation of hard point with waves penetrating to its core in Old Jail area.

In many places retentive foundation caved in and bamboo piling washed away by strong wave making the embankment scrawny and weak.

Abdul Malek, Executive engineer of Sirajganj WDB (BRE) said that 17 thousand cc blocks and 18 thousand geotex sand bags are dumped to ease the erosion activity.

Afzal Hossain, Chief Engineer of WDB, Rajshahi area said that the hard point was found risk less during different surveys. Yet it could not be saved from erosion. Due to second time erosion in the current year 105 meter long and 25 meter wide area of the hard point went into the river.

He added that due to peculiar characteristics of the Jamuna, the total area of the hard point have turned risky.

In many places retentive foundation caved in and bamboo piling washed away by strong wave making the embankment scrawny and weak.

It may collapse any time, warned DC, WDB officials and local people.

Army, which was deployed at hard point in Old Jail area on Monday night were dumping concrete (cc) bags, sand-filled GO bags and other material in order to check erosion in the new 200m vulnerable stretch.

However, the WDB is trying hard to bring the situation under control. Sarder Serajul Haq, Superintendent Engineer of Bogra area also visited the erosion hit area. Red alert is declared in the affected area.

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