Bangladesh has lost 30,000 acres of land to India
Bangladesh has been losing thousands of acres of land to neighbouring India due to bank erosion of border rivers for years. The lands that have formed on the Indian side of the rivers have been occupied by Indian people who are using those mainly for crop cultivation and housing purposes. The Indian government is also constructing barbed-wire fence, roads and observation towers to establish their permanent control on Bangladeshi lands. Sources said Bangladesh has so far lost 30,000 acres of land to India due to erosion of different border rivers following the Mujib-Indira Treaty, 1974. Of these, according to government sources, around 3,000 acres of land were occupies by India due to erosion of the Surma and Kushyara rivers only. Both the rivers originated from the Indian river Borak. Local people, however, said that the quantity of lands, formed along the Indian side of the two rivers, would be about 5,000 acres. According to the Mujib-Indira Treaty, the international border, at the riverside, is determined at the mid-stream of the boder rivers. There are 57 common rivers that follow into Bangladesh, of which 54 came from India. It is learnt that Bangladesh’s lands are facing erosion as the flows of rivers Surma and Kushiara are being changed through the construction of dams and groins at upstream of the river Borak by India. The Bangladesh government did not take necessary measures to stop the river erosion. A group of reporters under the banner of Bangladesh Water Reporters Forum, from Dhaka recently visited Amalshid point in Sylhet, a northeastern district of Bangladesh. No water was flowing through the Surma while the flow in Kushiara was negligible. Bangladesh has lost huge quantity of lands to India due to the erosion in the border rivers and Bangladeshi people cannot enter their lands. Sirajuddin, 60, a farmer, of village Amalshid under Jakiganj upazila told the reporters that he has lost 70 to 80 acres of lands and three houses due to the river erosion. “With the erosion in Bangladeshi part chars emerge in Indian side and then its people grab those lands and cultivate in cooperation with their Border Security Forces (BSF),” he said. Sirajuddin, father of a son, said people of Harinagar in India occupied the lands of the village Alinagar in Bangladesh that had totally been devoured by the river. According to him, 20 to 25 families have reportedly lost their lands due to the river erosion, but they never got those back. The reporters while visiting Bhuiyan Mora point of Kushiara river under same upazila saw that India was constructing the barbed-wire fence, observation tower and roads taking a vast char emerged by the erosion in Bangladeshi land to bring those lands under its control permanently. Local people said they lost a large quantity of land to India at this point but Bangladesh government has not yet taken any measure to bring back the land from Indian occupation. A senior official of Water Development Board in Sylhet told reporters that the most affected villages along the Kushiara included Amalshid, Sultanpur, Rarai, Senapatir Chak, Janinpur, Shaishapuri, Majargaon, Bhuiyan Mora, Ujirgaon, Luxmibazar, Konagram, Gajukata, Bhalua, Uttarkul, Sukrakandi, Loharmahol and Haidaraband. Dighali, Balla, Uttarpur and Munshibazar were mostly affected along with the Surma river. He said the Water Development Board had taken a project to protect the bank of Kushiara from Haidaraband to Bhuiyan Mora point on an emergency basis but it has not yet approved. The official said if Bangladesh fails to take protective measures timely it will lose more lands during the coming rainy season. He alleged though Bangladesh, in line with the decision of the Shilchar meeting in India in 2005, requested India to take measure for a joint survey in bordering areas from January 2006 but it has not yet started as what the Shilchar Water Department said it did not get the approval of central government. By Rafiqul Islam Azad
Tags: Bangladesh , Dhaka , India
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