Traders in peril

The Char Ashariadaha union of the Godagari sub-district is effectively a shoal in the middle of the Padma. Except that in the dry months there is nothing but marshland separating the inhabitants from the mainland.

A pleasant half hour boat trip during the monsoon turns into hours of trek over dirt tracks in the winter. It is virtually impossible for any vehicle to connect the union with the mainland.

It becomes a life threatening limitation for the elderly or the sick. They either have to be carried or they must walk by themselves to the hospital which would take almost half a day’s walk.

The locals mostly depend on agriculture and cattle husbandry.

The river was the only way to communicate and transport goods from the char to the mainland of the country.

Md Abu Taleb, a local shopkeeper in the Char Ashariadaha said that they have been facing severe transportation problem around the area as the river has dried up.

He said: “The waterway is the only way to communicate but in dry season when the river becomes smaller like a big canal, we have to suffer a lot while transporting goods, crops and cattle products.”

Md Shaharul Islam, a 35-year old resident of the char runs his family by cattle husbandry. He has more than 70 cows in his house which are the only income source for his family. Every day in morning and afternoon, he carries milk in three or four containers to the boat station on a bicycle for 5km from his home.

He said: “In the rainy season, we can easily transport the milk to the other side of the river but when it is dry season, it becomes tough as the river water recedes significantly.”

Md Mozammel Haque, another resident of Ashariadoho said: “Transportation is the main problem in our community and we often have to suffer a lot when the river dries up.

He said: “The people of the union surrounded by the river mostly depend on agriculture and cattle husbandry. They can transport their crops and cattle products including milk and curd through boat in rainy season. But the waste of time and labour increase while transporting them in dry season.”