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Sowai River restoration: Dredging operation begins to regain navigability

Degrading work is ongoing at the Sowai River in Mymensingh on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

Posted on April 24, 2024

The Sowai River, flowing through parts of Mymensingh and Netrokona in Bangladesh, was once rich in fish and continues to support vegetable cultivation along its banks. Over time, encroachers have diminished its presence, though it remains in the local consciousness and Water Development Board’s maps.

After years of protest, demanding dredging and restoration efforts, the authorities have started dredging operation on the river.

Netrokona Bangladesh Water Development Board Executive Engineer Mohammad Sarwar Jahan said: “The dredging of the Sowai River has begun. It spans 45km in length, 30m in width, and 20m at the bottom. The cost of dredging the river is estimated at about Tk47 crore. The contracting firms, M/S Yousuf & Brothers and Amin and Company are jointly conducting the dredging work.

“Although various parts of the river were illegally occupied, most parts have now been reclaimed. Some areas near Shyamganj Bazar still have structures due to their proximity, which remain. We are continuing the dredging according to the map,” he added.

Degrading work is ongoing at the Sowai River in Mymensingh on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

Sarwar Jahan is very optimistic that the dredging will be completed by the end of this year.

Shyamganj Unnayan Sangram Parishad General Secretary Harun Al-Bari said: “Since independence, a certain group of people have been occupying the Sowai River. As a result, the river in the Shyamganj area lost its navigability and almost disappeared over time. Many have built permanent homes on the riverbed. We have long demanded the demarcation and dredging of the river. The Water Development Board has now started the dredging work, and vested interests are attempting to halt the dredging through various efforts and lobbying.”

When asked about the matter, government officials in Gouripur said that after a long time, the Water Development Board oversees the dredging of the Sowai River. Legal measures will be taken according to regulations if any complications arise due to the encroachers.


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