Erosion of the river Padma has forced the authorities to shut down four out of seven ferry piers at Goalanda in Rajbari. The three other piers are also under threat.
The pier No. 3 in the Siddikpara neighbourhood has been shut down since Thursday morning after the river swallowed a 100-metre stretch, said Md Zahirul Islam, executive engineer of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority in Aricha. Erosion also affected pier No. 5.
“The work to prevent erosion has started, but it can’t be fully stopped. We are trying our best,” Zahirul said. Piers No 4, 6 and 7 were being used on Friday while pier No. 5 was already closed due to erosion on Sept 6.
The river gobbled up the entire pier No. 1 in October 2021.
At pier No. 3, workers were putting geo-bags to stop erosion. At least 70 homesteads in the neighbourhood are under threat. Many residents started moving their belongings to other places.
“We don’t know where to go,” said Shamin Begum, one of the locals.
Another resident, Md Bachchu Khan, lamented the authorities always assure them of taking steps, but they have not done anything. “We are always in panic. When we go to work, we fear whether we will see our family after returning home.”
Engineer Zahirul said the government planned a Tk 13.51 billion project for the development of the piers, but the design was not yet ready. “The work will begin once we get the design.”
Md Nasir Hossain, assistant manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation in Daulatdia, said they are using 12 out of 21 ferries on the Daulatdia-Paturia route.
The situation was still under control as there was not much pressure of traffic, he said.