‘Rivers from India, Myanmar eroding Bangladesh territory’

February 24th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, Feb 24 (IANS) Lower riparian Bangladesh fears large-scale loss of land due to erosion caused by rivers from India and Myanmar. According to government accounts, the country has already lost more than 15,000 hectares of land due to erosion caused by 10 common rivers at 29 points with India and one with Myanmar.

Rivers including Dholai and Surma in Sylhet, Mahananda in Chapainawabganj, Muhuri in Feni, Ichhamati and Kalika in Satkhira, Atrai and Punarbhaba in Naogaon, Feni in Khagrachhari and Tombru in Bandarban have been eating into the landmass of the country over the years.

“As Bangladesh is a lower riparian country, in most cases these rivers erode their banks on the Bangladesh side while chars emerge on the other,” The Daily Star newspaper said Sunday.

Acknowledging erosion of land by the common rivers, Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) member Mir Sazzad Hossain, however, said, “The area of the country will not change officially due to this erosion.”

When India and Pakistan were separated in 1947, it was settled that the mid-current of the rivers would be treated as the border between the two countries.

“But nothing was told in the law about what will happen if rivers erode or change their courses,” said a retired official of the Directorate of Land Survey who worked on international border for over a decade.

Bangladesh says it has lost 900 acres of land to erosion of the Ichhamati in Satkhira. In Bandarban, Tombru canal in Naikkhangchhari has devoured 3,000 acres of land in between pillars 34 and 37 in the last 20 years, giving rise to a char on the Myanmar side, local sources said.

A number of villages, including Chakmapara, Camp Para, Bazarpara, Baishapara and Uttarpara, had to be relocated because of the erosion, they said, alleging that the government is yet to take any step in this regard.

Meanwhile, a few small islands in the Bay of Bengal and at the estuaries of different rivers are eroding fast, some of them even have vanished already because of rise in the sea level and other natural reasons, officials concerned said.

It is reported that South Talpatti, a small island in the Bay, is not visible anymore on satellite images.

“Comparing the past and present satellite images, we have found some changes. We have been working on it and preparing a report under a project of the foreign ministry,” said an official of Space Research and Remote Sensing Organisation (Sparso).

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