People on Teesta banks worried over rising water level
The river has grabbed bridges and submerged at least five villages
The water of the turbulent Teesta washed away crops in four bighas of land of Sonai Bala, a housewife of Pazarbhanga village in Balapara area of Kaunia upazila in Rangpur, on Sunday, leaving her worried about the future.
Like her, many others living on the Teesta banks are passing their days amid fear and anxiety. They can do nothing but sit on the banks and feel how helpless they are.
Ramzan Ali of the same area cultivated nuts in three bighas of land. All his crops have been washed away by the water. He is now struggling to maintain his family.
Locals fear with the rise in river water, there would be erosion. The swelling water of the river has already submerged at least five villages.
Because of the onrush of upstream water and continuous shower, the river water levels in five northern districts have risen. The Teesta and the Brahmaputra are flowing over the danger level.
Consequently, people in those areas are experiencing floods. People in five northern districts, including Kaunia in Rangpur, are in serious troubles after losing crops and shelter.
However, people concerned have said that shelters have been prepared for the flood-affected people and 745 tonnes of rice have been allocated for the people of the five flood-hit districts. Everyone affected in the flood will get the assistance.
Sekendar Ali of East Nijpara village in Kaunia upazila said he cultivated winter crops in 4.5 bighas of land but the crops have been entirely washed away by water of the Teesta.
"The farming cost me Tk55,000. All my crops are under water now. I do not know how I will manage to feed my five-member family," he said.
Locals have long been demanding construction of an embankment in the downstream of the bridge to avoid the erosion. But their demand has remained unfulfilled.
Some expressed their resentment, saying that media people came here only to take pictures.
The people on the Teesta banks are helpless and they want protection from river erosion, they said.
The water from the upstream and heavy rain are causing erosion in the 152 kilometers area on both sides of the Teesta basin.
It is devouring houses, crop lands, trees and other structures. But the demand for building embankments in different parts of the Teesta to prevent erosion has been ignored for long.
Mehedi Hasan, executive engineer of the Rangpur Water Development Board, said, "The erosion areas of Teesta bank is under inspection. If there is a major incident, immediate action will be taken."
Joti Prasad Ghosh, chief engineer of the Water Development Board of the northern region, said that 44 gates of Teesta barrage were opened to handle the situation.
"Red signal was not issued as the flood water is still four feet below the flood bypass (flood fuse) of Teesta barrage. However, local people have been asked to stay safe through the yellow signal," he said.
Rangpur Divisional Commissioner KM Tarikul Islam said the low-lying areas have been inundated due to rising water levels in four major rivers in the Rangpur region.
"In the flood affected areas, Tk1,926,000 and 745 tonnes of GR rice have been allocated. According to government estimates, about 74,000 people in 103 unions in five districts of Rangpur have been affected. Official measures are underway for the affected people," he said.