Thursday, 21 March 2019
Chittagong, Bangladesh: Bangladesh's territory might shrivel in the future as erosion in the Naff River bordering Burma is causing loss of land areas.

As Bangladesh is a lower riparian country, the river erodes its bank on the Bangladesh side while chars emerge on the other side, according to official sources.

According to government accounts, Bangladesh has already lost more than 15,000 hectares of land due to erosion caused by 10 rivers with India and one with Burma. River Naff in Taungbro in Bandarban has been eating into the land mass of the country over the years.

Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) member Mir Sazzad Hossain, however, said, "The area of the country will not change officially due to this erosion."  Earlier, it was settled for river in the bordering area that the mid-current of the river would be treated as the border for the two countries.

"But nothing was said in the law about what will happen if river erodes or changes its course," said a retired official of the Directorate of Land Survey who worked on the international border for over  a decade.

"When river erodes land on the Bangladesh side and char emerge on the Burma side, it creates disputes regarding the border, he added.

Nasaka, Burma's border security forces objected when Bangladesh was trying to protect the Naff River bank at the Whykhong (Ohnsi Pyin) point in Cox's Bazaar district in 2001.

In Bandarban, Taungbro canal in Naikhongchari devoured 3,000 acres of land in between pillars 34 and 37 in the last 20 years, giving rise to a char on the Burma side. A number of villages including Chakmapara, Baishapara, and Uttarpara had to be relocated because of the erosion. But the government is yet to take any step in this regard, local villagers said.