To sand lifting erosion threat in kuakata

The contractor employed by the Water Development Board (PUBO) is currently extracting sand using a dredger from Kuakata Beach in Patuakhali. This sand is being collected under the pretext of providing geo tubes and geo bags for preventing beach erosion. However, instead of following the proper procedures of bringing sand from outside and using the designated bags and tubes, the contractor is neglecting the rules. As a result, Kuakata Beach is being transformed into a desolate landscape with significant craters appearing in various locations. This alarming scene was observed during a visit to different parts of the beach on Wednesday morning.

When asked about the situation, Khaled Bin Walid, executive engineer of the Water Development Board in the Kalapara Circle, acknowledged receiving reports of sand extraction from the beach and its improper placement in bags. He assured that the sand extraction activity has now been halted, and appropriate measures will be taken to address the issue. 

It has been alleged that approximately Tk 8 crore was spent over the past four years to protect the beach, but due to collusion between local residents and the development activities, the money was wasted as the beach sand was washed away by the sea. This year, the Water Development Board has initiated a new project worth about Tk 2 crore. Observing this situation, both tourists and locals fear that Kuakata Beach is gradually deteriorating, and the government is wasting substantial sums of money every year on unplanned developments under the guise of protecting the beach from destruction.

Ruman Imtiaz Tushar, the president of the Tour Operators Association of Kuakata, expressed that the Water Development Board only offers temporary projects during the monsoon season, specifically the Geo Tube Geo Bag project, which fails to benefit the beach and, in fact, results in the loss of its natural beauty. Kuakata requires a permanent project to protect the beach and enhance its aesthetics, as the current endeavors are simply a waste of money.

During the monsoon season, the stormy sea waves often erode the shoreline. Consequently, the Water Development Board has been installing sand-filled geo bags and geo tubes along the beach in recent years. In the last four years, the board urgently initiated a beach protection endeavor by filling geo bags with beach sand, costing Tk 8 crore, on both sides of the beach’s zero point.

Currently, these geo bags are scattered across the beach, creating a chaotic environment and large pits. In response to this situation, a temporary defense dam is being constructed using geo tubes and 37,000 geo bags, costing Tk 1 crore 97 lakhs, over a one-and-a-half-kilometer area this year. However, the concerned contractor is not providing the required sand for these geo bags and geo tubes, despite it being a standard procedure.

Md. Liton Shawal, the contractor from the company ‘Natural’ responsible for implementing the Geo Bag and Geo Tube project, denied the allegations and claimed that they are indeed bringing sand from outside. Regarding the video evidence showing six dredgers extracting sand from the beach, he dismissed it by saying, “Come and see for yourself, and then you will see that the connections have been severed.”

Md. Shariful Islam, the President of the Kuakata Beach Management Committee and the District Commissioner of Patuakhali, expressed his intention to send the Assistant Commissioner of Land to arrest 

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