The long wait of the char people for electricity in Gaibandha's four upazilas has just prolonged as many electric poles set up by the district palli bidyut samity (rural electrification board) have been engulfed by furious Brahmaputra. The river erosion has taken a serious turn in the district since last month.
In a recent visit, it was found that many electric polls set up by the Gaibandha Palli Biidyut Samity in Kharzani char under Sadar upazila, Kunderpara, Kochkhali and Galnar chars under Fulchari upazila have collapsed in the river.
Farid Mia, 26, of Kharzani Char said, "The authority laid the electricity lines six months before in Satkatha area of Kharzani char but the river erosion has already devoured four electric poles in last week."
Abdul Mazid, 50, of the same char said, "We have been waiting for long for electricity. The line was set up almost a year ago but the authority did not give us the connection. As the river started eroding, I have shifted my house in another char of the river. My dream of electricity has been washed away," said Abdul Mozid.
According to the Gaibandha Palli Bidyut Samity, 692 kilometers of electric lines were supposed to be laid in Gibandha's Sadar, Fulchari upazila, Saghata and some char areas in Jamalpur district for 40,000 subscribers since June, 2019.
The 100 percent electrification project was being implemented by the Gaibandha Palli Bidyut Samilty under the government project 'Distribution Network expansion (DNE)', said Habibur Rahman, executive engineer of the Bangladesh rural electrification Board (BREB), Gaibandha.
Due to the river erosion, we could not draw the lines in 190 km char areas which have already been engulfed, said Habibur Rahma.
"Since the start of the project, we have drawn 390 km of lines so far," he added.
Sirajul Islam, project consultant said, "We have already recovered some of the polls from the river water and many of which are under serious threat of the erosion."
When asked if feasibility study was conducted before running the project, the executive engineer said, "Before the project, we conducted a survey and promised to provide electricity into the char areas by submarine cables."
"We could have already provided connection but the char people did not complete mandatory wiring of their houses. However, we have decided to wire their houses for a minimum charge and will launch the service by end of this years," said Habibur Rahman.
Meanwhile, around 200 hundred families have been displaced from Kharzani char because of erosion last one year.
Among them, 100 families of the Kharzani char have shifted to various places during the last one month.
"We have lost around 1000 acres of crop land and 200 homestead due to the river erosion in the last 10 months," said Ashadul Islam, 26, a farmer of the Kharzani.
Contacted, Mokhlesur Rahman, executive engineer of the Gaibandha water development board said, "We do not work for the erosion in the char areas. We only work for the mainland erosion."
The government is planning to form char development board and we have to wait for that in order to find a solution to it, he added.