Cyclone piles erosion woes
Over 1,000 bighas of farmland have been lost to the Hooghly in a pocket of Nadia’s Santipur since Saturday night, worsened by the rain from Cyclone Bulbul.
The erosion in Chowdhurypara began last month and remained unchecked despite the irrigation department’s efforts to prevent it by reinforcing the banks with sandbags. The river is now barely 100 metres from homes.
Since Saturday, over 200 families in Chowdhurypara and the vicinity have been spending sleepless nights.
“The erosion worsened with an increase in tidal waves as Cyclone Bulbul approached. We noticed cracks in the dry land adjacent to the riverbanks. That part was lost to the river in a matter of hours,” said Bireswar Chowdhury, a resident.
Most of the 200-odd families in the hamlets are agriculture labourers and vegetable vendors. “The erosion has pushed us into a struggle for survival,” said Bireswar Chowdhury.
Villagers in the area had last month alleged that the erosion was caused by illegal removal of earth by the soil mafia for supply to brickfields. Santipur BDO Suman Debnath said restoration “work will begin soon”.