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9 Apr, 2013

Major South Asian Rivers May Overrun 2,200 Hectares of Land in 2013


DHAKA, April 7, 2013 (BSS) – Three major rivers — the Jamuna, the Ganges and the Padma — may grab around 2,200 hectares of land leaving nearly 22,900 people homeless and landless this year.

The forecast was made at a dissemination seminar titled ‘Erosion Prediction-2013 for the Jamuna, the Ganges and the Padma rivers’ prepared by Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) at BRAC Centre Inn here today.

Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and the CEGIS jointly organized the seminar. Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen addressed the seminar as the chief guest while Senior Secretary of the Ministry Shaikh Altaf Ali as the special guest.

Executive Director of the CEGIS Engr Md Waji Ullah, Deputy Executive Director Dr Maminul Haque and senior professional Nazneen Aktar presented separate keynote papers on riverbank erosion with BWDB Director General Md Azizul Haque in the chair.

Ramesh said rivers devours a vast tract of land every year leaving huge number of people landless and homeless, damaging crops and others assets. There are over 500 rivers in the country and many are suffering from serious navigability problems due to lack of capital dredging, he added.

The government has taken projects for carrying out capital dredging for restoring navigability in the rivers, which will reduce riverbank erosion.

The country spends around Taka 1,500 crore every year for work related to prevention of riverbank erosion, Altaf said adding, “If we invest money for prevention measures including research work, we can cut bank erosion cost.”

He called for preparing two or three years’ riverbank erosion forecast to deal with natural disasters effectively aiming to minimise loss of land and property.

According to the riverbank erosion prediction, 338 hectares of settlement are vulnerable to erosion along the Jamuna, the Padma, the Ganges.

The report said 5,960 metres of active embankment, 2.9 kilometres of district road, 1.7 kilometres of upazila road and 2.9 kilometres of rural road are also vulnerable to erosion along the three major rivers.

Waji Ullah said the CEGIS has been preparing riverbank erosion prediction report every year from 2004 with support from different government and non-government organizations.

The CEGIS made the forecast by using satellite images and GIS technology as well as history of erosion along rivers.