Volume XXII |

The changing river course and its impact on riverine society: A case study on the Padma River, Murshidabad District, West Bengal (India)

Abstract: River bank erosion within Murshidabad district is a tragedy, which happens haphazardly along the bank of the Padma River system. The main objective of the study is to analyze the changing river course and its impact on society. By comparing the toposheet and Landsat (5 and 8) images of the Padma River of the Murshidabad district from the years 1924, 1990, and 2020, it is clearly observed that there have been significant changes on the southern portion of the river since 1924 (Bhagawangola II, Raninagar II, and Jalangi Block), while less changes occur on the central part of the river, which is near the Lalgola block. But in the year 2020 significant changes have been found in the northern and middle portion of the district near Samserganj and Lalgola block. Those parts belong to a highly vulnerable zone of bank erosion. This study analyzed some factors, such as soil stratification of the river bank and human encroachment as an obstruction to the natural river flow, also responsible for bank failure. The river has been consuming the vast portions of the right bank every year due to its increasing sinuosity. The victims are mostly in the Samserganj, Lalgola, Bhagawangola II, Raninagar II and Jalangi blocks, who suffered greatly from 1924 to 2020 due to moving of river course by 27% on the right side, which is notified from cross sectional analysis. Additionally, the predicted erosional impact of the region highlights the socio-economic perspective of the research area.