BRAHMANBARIA, Oct 11: Illegal extractions of sand from the River Titas in Sarail and Brahmanbaria Sadar Upazila are going on unabated intensifying threat of erosion in the nearby villages, local residents said.
People of the villages at Fatepur, Jafarganj, Aminpur, Rajamaria kandi, Boisamura under the two upazilas are now passing their days amid fear that their homesteads might go into the river.
Not only homesteads schools, roads, walkways and croplands are also at risk due to the unauthorised dredging for lifting sand from the river bed. The course of the rivers in the area may be changed if the illegal activity continues, local people said quoting experts.
They are becoming subject to multifarious losses due to the unauthorized dredging and lifting sand illegally.
The illegal sand lifting from the river, they feared, might increase erosion and possibility of more flooding in the area urging the government to take measures to stop the illegal practice.
According to local residents, several roads and different establishments including a vast area of croplands in the area have already gone into the river. When this correspondent visited the area he found a huge amount of sand lifted from the river was piled up at Kawtali, Majlishpur, Boisamura of Sadar and Sarail Upazila for trading.
Despite informing the local administration, they said, nothing tangible was done to stop these illegal practices which are even threatening their existence. Locals informed that some vested quarters are extracting sand illegally from the river beds with dredger.
"A large portion of cropland has been damaged. Besides, some walkways were also shattered," said a school teacher of Majlishpur Junior School seeking anonymity.
"Although none can dredge on the river for lifting sand without the permission of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, some unscrupulous traders are extracting sand from the riverbed which is also weakening the embankment," said Abdullah Miah, a local resident of Bakail village.
But the local administration did hardly take any action which, they said, resulted in the continuing illegal practice. In recent times, a good number of ponds were also filled up with lifted sand from the river in rural areas under the two upazilas.
Aminur Islam of Majlishpur village said that local people had informed the incidents to the local administration several times. But no steps were taken against the illegal sand lifting.
Brahmanbaria Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) Begum Lutfunnahar, however, said that they had already taken steps to stop the illegal practice. "Mobile courts also conducted drives in several areas and destroyed the dredger machines," she added.