Due to three ill-planned structural interventions created by the Coastal Embankment Project (CEP), Khulna Coastal Embankment Rehabilitation Project (KCERP) and Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) Projects, prolonged and catastrophic water logging has been caused in three Upazillas of Jessore namely Manirampur, Keshabpur, and Abhaynagar.
Siltation carried by the upstream water flow outside the embankments created by the Projects resulted in filling up of Hari, Teka, Mukteshwari and Upper Bhadra river. Simultaneously due to structural interventions and also closure of some of the sluice gates including one called Bhabodaho sluice gate in…., monsoon water could not come out of the area covered by the Projects.
Both the factors together resulted in the devastating water logging in at least 144 villages of Abhaynagar, Keshabpur and Manirampur Upazillas that is continuing till October, 2005 causing indescribable sufferings for at least 3 lakhs villagers of the said three Upazillas. The affected villagers of the three Upazillas had no return from the agricultural activities since 2005 that remained their only source of income.
A statement prepared by Upazilla Agricultural Officer showed that in the year 2005 alone, the amount of loss in the agricultural sectors in Keshabpur Upazilla has been Taka 6,30,40,000 as there was failure of ropa aman, vegetables, spices and other crops. According to a statement prepared by Upazila Nirbahi Office, Abhaynagar, in the Upazilla of Abhaynagar, the number of affected people were 20,000 with crop failure in around 3365 hectors of land.
Another statistics showed that in the Manirampur Upazilla, an estimated 6012 hectors of land had crop failure due to inundation in the year 2005. In 2005, 1,16,600 hectors of land within the areas of the Projects went under water.
As a result of successive crop failures due to the prolonged water logging, people faced with unbearable financial loss. Their lives and properties were severely and adversely affected and their social, economic, educational life have came to a complete halt. People were seen taking shelter on the embankments as their houses went under water. Their houses, cultivable lands, religious institutions, schools, colleges, kitchens, gardens, fisheries went under water and remained so from 2004-2006. In the absence of food and shelter, the sufferings of the aged, children and women were beyond description. Due to lack of support from the government, the affected people were in no position to meet even the minimum required to pull on with lives. There was no shelter, supply of food, livelihoods, and basic access to health and sanitation. The curse of water logging was judged as a classic example and evidence of failure of million-dollar loan projects implemented devoid of public participation and in non-transparent ways.
Although peoples’ grievances were adequately reported and recorded, these was no effective measures from either the funding agencies and/or the government actors to remove water and protect peoples lives, livelihood, safety, health, comfort, environment.