Tidal surges from the River Kopotakkho and River Kholpetua accompanied by heavy downpours have damaged almost all the roads in the coastal areas under two unions in Ashashuni Upazila of Satkhira. People of 39 villages in Protapnagar and Shriula unions in the upazila have been suffering as the road communication has been severed.
In Protapnagar and Shriula unions, around eight kilometres of roads have been damaged. Around one and a half kilometres of roads of the two unions have been completely broken while 6.5 kilometres have been partially damaged, according to Satkhira Roads and Highways Department. The damage costs Tk20 crore.
Around 200 feet of the main road from Protapnagar to Satkhira Sadar has been destroyed completely and has turned into a canal now.
On August 20, tidal water from the Kopotakkho and the Kholpetua rivers accompanied by heavy rain washed away the embankments in several areas along the unions and flooded the localities. Since then water from the rivers has been entering the villages during high tide.
It should be mentioned that several parts of the embankments had been damaged by cyclone Amphan and till now no repair work has been done to fix the damaged portions.
Idris Ali, a resident of Protapnagar village and a lecturer of Satkhira Government College, said, "The situation deteriorated after the collapse of the embankment, and tidal water has been entering the localities. Though local people have repaired some parts of the main road, they could not repair the part of the road located behind Protapnagar Secondary School as this portion has been damaged severely. Road communication has remained cut."
Jakir Hossain, chairman of Protapnagar union, said, "The embankment has not been repaired, and the roads and highways department has not been seen to be doing anything about it yet. People of the areas are in great trouble now."
Azizur Rahman, a resident of Protapnagar village, said though water had receded from the area, the sufferings of the villagers had increased. "The normal communication system has been broken. The main road is severely damaged and in some areas, there is no sign of even any mud road," he said.
Abu Hena Shakil, chairman of Shriula union, said all the brick-built roads of the union had been destroyed.
"On August 20, the entire locality under the union was flooded by tidal surges. Since then, water of the Kholpetua River has been flooding the villages during high tide. The embankment has not been repaired. The road from Mariala and Ashashuni to Gholapaka is completely damaged. Several parts of the 12 kilometres long road in the union have completely been broken while some parts have been damaged partially. We are trying to restore normal communication by dumping earth and sand on the damaged roads," said Shakil.
Monjurul Islam, executive engineer of Satkhira Roads and Highways Department, said a requisition letter has been sent to the ministry concerned to repair the damaged roads.
"We have been informed that a team from the ministry will inspect the damaged roads and then steps will be taken in this regard," he said.
He further said that cyclone Amphan damaged 30 kilometres of road in the district, which cost Tk50 crore.
"After Amphan, a letter was sent to the ministry asking for allocation for repairing the roads. But we have not received any allocation as yet," he added.
Sudhangshu Sarker, executive engineer of Satkhira Roads and Highways Department-2 (Ashashuni), said tidal water was entering the villages of Shriula and Protapnagar unions through three points – Hajrakhali of Shriula union and Kurikaunia and Chakla areas of Protapnagar.
"We have been informed through a letter that the Bangladesh Army will start working from November to protect the embankments. We can do nothing now except wait for that to happen," said Sudhangshu.