Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bangladesh-India frontier rivers dying

Building of ‘Lake City’ delayed

Bangladesh-India frontier rivers dying

News Desk BENAPOLE, Nov 8: Many structures have been built illegally by encroaching both banks of Ichhamoti and Haor river, once linking Bangladesh and India border, but authorities concerned are sleeping without taking any positive action to this effect. Inaction on the part of the authorities, in other ways delaying the implementation of turning Benapole into a 'Lake City'. Local influentials constructed different establishments, including huge complexes, ponds and fish enclosures occupying the river banks that stopped the water flow on the river. Thus the river in the process turned into a narrow canal and created huge water logging in many places in the country's biggest land port Benapole, known from reliable sources in the boarder belt locations. Locals alleged that the encroachers brought those lands under their possession showing fake deeds of the lands by the grabbers. Local people have been demanding evictions of those unauthorisd establishments for reviving the dead river in order to make Benapole into a nice place. During a recent visit to the area, this correspondent found several multistoried buildings constructed on the Haor river bank. A number of fish enclosures have also been made on the riverbank, informed by locals. Once a lively river, the Ichamoti now turned into a dry sliver due to the encroachment, locals alleged. Ichhamoti and its adjacent Sonamukhi beel which had multi-faceted links with Gangas and Farakka river of India and Kaputakkha, Rupsha, Betna and Kudla rivers, catered to the lives of thousands of people by transporting fishes, crops and other products, creating the horizon of then open market economy. Alikdar Sagor, former president of Benapole Lion, an anti-drug organization said the present government had undertaken initiatives to evict those illegal structures from all those Haor and river areas, but later stopped the action program due to some an unknown reasons. Water Transport Minister and local lawmaker visited the spot on several occasions as part of the project 'Building Lake City' during the present regime but could not take the process forward later. Only 200 yards away from the country's biggest land port, Haor river was flowing through 20 other rivers including Koputakkha, Ichhamati, Bhairab, Nalua and so many canals in southern-Eastern districts, which now turns a dead one due to sporadic encroachments, impairing river route economy and ecological balance in the religion. Pulak Kumar Mondal, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Sharsha Upazila, said a list of the encroachers have already been made to evict those establishments. "We will take legal steps against them soon", he added. (Inputs taken from UNB)

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