‘Ashrayan’ families in Chandpur rendered homeless twice by Meghna
Over the past month, even the shelter homes built for erosion-affected families under the Ashrayan project suffered continued damages, with many eventually getting washed away under the relentless erosion by the Meghna River in Sadar upazila, UNB reports.
The government undertook the Ashrayan-2 project in 2010 for providing shelter to around 2.50 lakh families at a cost of Tk 4,840.28 crore, which is scheduled to be completed by 2019. An earlier version was initiated in 1997, after the Awami League first came to power under Sheikh Hasina.
Sadar upazila parishad Chairman Md Nurul Islam Dewan said a total of 135 one-storey barracks were constructed on the west bank of the Meghna River at a char of Laxmipur model union, some 8 kms of the district town, under seven projects – Harina, Harina Extension, Padma, Padma Extension, Elshepar, Gokkhuradi and Gokkhur Extension.
Some 675 families were given shelter in the barracks.
Two of the seven Ashrayan projects -- Harina and Harina Extension -- have been severely affected by erosion of the mighty river.
During a visit to the project, this UNB correspondent found that most of the buildings have been washed away by the river, forcing the residents to take shelter in the ones that remain, in extremely cramped conditions. They are also constantly under threat as the erosion continues.
Dewan told UNB that they will take steps with the help of the Water Development Board to repel the erosion. “Sacks of sand have already been dumped in the affected areas,” he added.
Bilal Hossain, a village defence party member at the Harina Ashrayan project, told UNB that 60 families in 25 barracks have already lost their allotted homes due to the erosion. “New buildings are being eaten up by the river every day,” he added.
Local residents Bashu Bepary and Sohrab Hossain said they took shelter in the barracks after losing everything, including homesteads, to the river erosion, but the erosion refused to part its ways with them.
“The river erosion continued to haunt us. We’ve rendered homeless again even after taking shelter in the Ashrayan project,” Sohrab said.
Another resident of the Ashrayan project, Khalil Majhi, said immediate steps should be taken to save the project from erosion.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Kaniz Fatema said the government is taking steps to help the erosion-affected people.