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River dredging sparks protest

Posted on December 1, 2020

River dredging by Water Development Board (WDB) has sparked protest in Bhuapur upazila.

WDB started dredging the Jamuna to prevent erosion in the upazila. Besides, preparations to construct an embankment on the riverbank are going on.

However, the char people at a rally on the premises of Jungipur Rulipara High School in the upazila on November 24 alleged that the dredging is going on the private lands destroying crops.

Meanwhile, people of Char Gabsara mouza formed a human chain in front of the deputy commissioner’s office in the district town on Wednesday in this regard.

They also submitted a memorandum to the Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources through Deputy Commissioner Md Ataul Gani demanding to stop the ‘unplanned dredging’.

Speakers at the rally said they are not against the river dredging, but the authority should excavate a simple line in the main stream of the river. However, the WDB is gradually shifting from Jamalpur edge to the left in a few kilometres curved and arranging dredging targeting the crop char named Kayemi Char.

They added that hundreds of farmers in the char areas will be affected financially by the unplanned dredging.  They have already planted different crops including paddy, peanut, watermelon and wheat on hundreds of acres of lands on the char.

The speakers also threatened to launch a tougher movement if their demand is not met.

Preparations are going on for dredging to protect the navigability of Jamuna under the River Bank Protection Project of WDB, said an official of WDB, adding that excavation of six and a half kilometers at Bashuria part of Sarishabari upazila in Jamalpur part has already been completed.

Now about 9.5km of river will be excavated in Tangail section from Char Sunamui of Gopalpur part of Jamuna to Bangabandhu Bridge of Bhuapur in the south by June next year at a cost of Tk 210 crore.

The task force of the WDB conducted an on-the-spot survey in this regard and made the alignment. The excavation will be done as per the design and line of alignment.

Sirajul Islam, executive engineer of WDB in Tangail, said the river will be excavated as per the alignment done by the task force team of the WDB after conducting survey three years ago. There were no crops in the char areas at that time.

The excavation will be done as required to keep the normal course of the river flowing, he said.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Farooq has visited the site in Arjuna area of Bhuapur on Thursday.

Several projects are being implemented in the area for the development of the people, he said, adding that WDB will dredge in the government land.

Those whose lands will be acquired for dredging will get compensation, said the minister.

Source: thedailystar

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