About 250 metres of the embankment on the Jalalabad-Farazipara portion has collapsed, putting 300 establishments, including the union parishad (UP) bhaban, in Cox's Bazar's Eidgaon upazila in danger of falling into the River Phuleswari.
Unplanned and random sand extraction from the river for the last one year and a half by a syndicate of Eidgaon, including the Jalalabad union parishad chairman, is responsible for the embankment collapse that caused severe erosion, villagers alleged.
One month ago, two girder spans along the pillars of the bridge, connecting the two unions of Eidgaon upazila, were washed away due to the first hill slope of the monsoon season.
The houses of the former chairman and member, the newly-built Jalalabad UP bhaban, Jalalabad-Pokkhali pucca road, government primary school, two mosques, graveyard, a shelter center, three madrasas, and a school are now at risk of being damaged by the erosion.
The erosion took place on 1 August in the embankment of Farazipara Master Mozammel Faraji Bari part of Jalalabad union in Eidgaon.
Locals Dr Sajjad Kashem and Kamrul Hasan Bayazid said the Phuleswari river, like other rivers in the district, was flooded at high speed due to last week's torrential rains.
Locals Aman Ullah, Shaheen Faraji, Kamal Uddin and many others said that the condition of the embankment is such that if a slope is named in the future, it will disappear and houses in the whole area will be submerged.
The residents on the river banks have to pay the price for the greed of a syndicate including the Jalalabad UP chairman. They did unplanned sand extraction from Eidgarh of the river in the part of Pokkhali. Even they extract sand from under the bridge.
For that on 1 July, the bridge that connects the two unions in the Jalalabad Manzoor Maulvi's shop area collapsed with the middle pillar and two girder spans.
Some parts of the embankment in Farazipara portion collapsed earlier this month, and the dyke in the middle Pokkhali area has already broken, leaving villagers on the river bank in panic.
Nurul Alam, ward-4 member of Jalalabad UP, said the Cox's Bazar Water Development Board (WDB) authorities have been informed about the collapse of the embankment.
20-25 villages of the union including Baharchhara, Palakata, Khamarpara and Dhamka Beel will be submerged. As the damaged dam and the surrounding area are in low land, there is a danger that the course of the river will change if it collapses.
He said it was urgent to repair the dam to reduce the loss of life including hundreds of houses, educational and religious institutions in the area.
Jalalabad UP chairman Imrul Rashed could not be reached for comment despite multiple calls on his cell phone.
Jalalabad UP panel chairman Osman Sarwar said "We all fear that by the end of this year's monsoon, most of the banks of the 15 km river may be eroded."
Cox's Bazar WDB executive engineer Prabir Kumar Goswami said, "We received the news. However, we haven't been to the location yet. A quick action will be taken by visiting today or tomorrow."