Residents of areas along the Teesta river in Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat district are living in fear of losing their homes and crops as erosion has taken a serious turn. Several thousand families living on the riverbanks were facing waterlogging issues due to the torrential rainfall last week. Several hundred hectares of cropland were damaged during this period. But when the floodwater started to recede, panic gripped them as erosion took a serious turn in seven to eight points along the left side of the river. Over the past few days, 25-30 houses, croplands and several establishments were washed away due to the erosion, forcing many families to live under the open sky. Rising river waters trigger flooding, erosion concerns in Kurigram Many have shifted their valuables including furniture on the roadside and near the flood protection dam. Meanwhile, residents of Gobordhan and Garibullatari villages under Mahishkhocha union of the upazila saw severe erosion at the dead night on Tuesday near the embankment. A number of establishments including a mosque have gone into the river. The families of Rabiul, Bhuttu and Yeakub Ali are living under the open sky as their homesteads were washed away due to the erosion. Locals said if the authorities do not take any steps immediately, the embankment would also go into the river. Villagers spend sleepless nights as Madhumati river banks erosion intensifies in Faridpur They also demanded constructing a permanent dam along the riverbank. Sunil Kumar, executive engineer of Lalmonirhat Water Development Board, said erosion occurred in seven-eight points along the riverbanks while erosion at spur dam-2 took a serious turn. They have informed the matter to the high official concerned, he said. After visiting the affected areas, GR Sarwar, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Aditmari upazila, said a list of affected people is being prepared and assistance will be provided as per the list. Teesta erosion worsens in Kurigram; 50 homes swept away
River ports in some parts of Bangladesh have been asked to hoist ‘warning signal No 1’ due to inclement weather. “Rain or thundershowers accompanied by temporary south or south-easterly gusty or squally wind speed 45-60 kph is likely over the regions of Rangpur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogura, Tangail, Mymensingh, Dhaka, Faridpur, Madaripur, Jashore, Kushtia, Khulna, Barishal, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Cumilla, Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet during till 6 pm on Saturday, commencing at 9am,” said a special bulletin of Met office.3 more bodies retrieved from Padma River after boat sinks in C’nawabganj Water level of major rivers in north-eastern region continues to rise: FFWC
Speakers at a discussion on Tuesday called for coordinated efforts by enlisting the support of the people to save Bangladesh’s common rivers and the environment. They made the call while addressing a discussion organized by the International Farakka Committee (IFC) to mark the Farakka Long March Day 2023 at the National Press Club. Today (May 16) is the Farakka Long March Day. On this day in 1976, leader of the toiling masses Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani led the March from Rajshahi to Kansat near the Bangladesh-India border to protest unilateral withdrawal of Ganges water, ensure due share of water and protection of Bangladesh’s environment. The speakers said the long march paved the way for signing of the first Ganges Water Sharing Treaty in 1977. Subsequently a MoU and an agreement were signed but without the main safety valve - guarantee clause. Also Read: Ensure flow of common rivers, avert disaster: Farakka Committee With Mostafa Kamal Majumder, the coordinator of IFC, in the chair, the function was addressed, among others, by Mostafa Jamal Haider, chairman of Jatiya Party (Jamal), Saiful Huq, general secretary of Biplabi Workers’ Party, Shahidullah Kaysar, general secretary of Nagorik, Oikya, and Elahi Newaz Khan former president of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) The speakers said that Bangladesh now can do nothing if water does not flow from upstream. On the other hand, the country remains deprived of normal flooding due to construction of embankments on all 54 common rivers, but faces devastating floods at intervals, they observed. In the dry season, a process of desertification is observed in the northern and the south-western parts of Bangladesh. Also Read: Don’t sign off on Kushiara before Teesta: Farakka Committee The Farakka Long March of Moulana Bhashani thus remains relevant even to this day, the speakers said. They said that as the largest delta in the world, Bangladesh owes its origin to rivers which carried silt to form the land over the millennia. Disruption of flows of rivers has threatened the geographical integrity of this land of rivers. The environmental balance of the country is in jeopardy due to reduction of flows of rivers for five decades. Harmful salinity of seawater has reached from the shore to Aricha in Manikganj with devastating effects on the river ecosystem, they said. They said that as the natural floodplains do no longer have normal flooding during the wet season, indigenous fish, aquatic organisms, weeds, water lilies and other aquatic plants have disappeared from many districts. Again, being deprived of the dry season flows, many small rivers in the lower catchments of the Ganges and the Teesta have died. In such a situation the life and livelihood of people have come under severe stress. The speakers said Bangladesh would not have experienced such environmental disasters if International law relating to rivers and water was upheld. Common rivers should continue to flow from their origins to their outfalls in the sea, otherwise, they will die, they said. Water experts of India and the rest of the world are aware of the river-environmental disasters in Bangladesh and are vocal against them. The speakers said that raising a voice against this cannot be termed as enmity. Works are ongoing worldwide on proper sharing of rivers and cooperation between upper-riparian and lower-riparian peoples. They said that without this, rivers will not remain alive. Bangladesh should raise a strong voice to assert this and take steps to ensure natural flows of rivers and protect the riverine environment The speakers eulogized the foresight of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and urged all concerned to take inspiration from the lesson he taught at the age of 96 in the movement to protect the environmental balance of Bangladesh. The meeting sympathized with IFC New York chairman, Atiqur Rahman Salu who had fallen ill and prayed for his early recovery. Earlier, Dr. SI Khan, former adviser to the UN on water and environment and Sr. Vice-President, IFC Bangladesh, made a keynote speech. Samyabadi Dal leader Kazi Mostafa Kamal, US-based senior journalist and poet Salem Suleri and IFC organising secretary Ataur Rahman Ata were among those who spoke at the function.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has criticised the government for its alleged lack of planning to protect the country's environment from the adverse effects of global climate change. At a seminar titled 'Climate Change: Bangladesh and Rivers,' organized by BNP, he said that Dhaka has become one of the most polluted cities in the country due to the government's negligence in addressing the issue of environmental pollution. The BNP leader accused the government of having no plan to address these issues and improve people's future or livelihoods. Also Read: Fakhrul smells conspiracy in ministers' comments on Khaleda's health "The small rivers that once existed in Savar-Dhamrai have nearly died out. You may have noticed that several clubs have emerged along the Turag river, with the backing and support of high-ranking government officials,” he said. “These clubs have been constructed on top of the riverbed. Water levels are decreasing, and rivers are being encroached upon - anyone can see it. Those who are connected to the current government are responsible for these actions, yet no measures are being taken against them,” he added. He called for a people-oriented government to protect the environment. Fakhrul highlighted various measures, including the banning of plastic bags, a canal digging programme and the banning of tri-stroke baby taxis, taken under BNP's rule to protect the environment. Also Read: BNP demands immediate repeal of DSA, withdrawal of all cases field under it He stressed that a people-oriented government is needed to protect the environment and democracy is necessary for accountability. The harmful aspects of building dams upstream in India and the threat to nature and biodiversity were also discussed. Other speakers included BNP Standing Committee member, Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain, who criticised the government's Farakka Treaty agreement and the lack of a guarantee clause. BNP Joint Secretary General Khairul Kabir Khokon, Media Cell Convener Zahir Uddin Swapan and Save the Sundar Foundation Chairman Sheikh Faridul Islam spoke at the seminar.
Although there are 41 recognised river routes between Dhaka and the south coast, at present there are commercial launches operating from Sadarghat terminal of Dhaka river port on just 25 routes. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) sources said that launches are not plying the remaining river channels due to the shortage of passengers. However, launch owners say that 15 waterways have apparently been abandoned due to poor navigability. They said, this crisis has been created due to lack of sufficient dredging. They claim that even on the 25 waterways that are operational, launches ply on just 19 of those. Launch movement on the remaining 6 routes is irregular. Also Read: CSOs demand investigations into irregularities in dredger pilotage, repair Rights activists complain that there is no transparency and accountability in excavation and dredging works. Due to this, there are irregularities and corruption in this important work. Launch owners also have the same complaint that waterways are not being dredged properly due to lack of transparency and accountability. Badiuzzaman Badal, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport (Passenger carrier) Association, an organisation of launch owners, said, “We are a major stakeholder in the shipping sector. But we are not involved in river dredging. Our opinion is not taken on which route has more or less navigability crisis." Referring to the lack of minimum transparency and accountability in dredging, Badiuzzaman Badal said, “BIWTA is doing the job as per their wish leading to widespread irregularities and corruption. As a result, general people, including water transport owners, are not getting the benefits. As the launch cannot proceed in many waterways due to the navigability crisis, in order to reach many destinations, one has to travel much more than the prescribed distance, wasting extra time. On the one hand, the fuel cost of the owners increases, on the other hand, the passengers do not want to board the launch because of the extra time wasted.” Also Read: NCPSRR wants transparency in river dredging, silt removal Badiuzzaman Badal said these in a press conference at the organisation's office at Sadarghat Terminal on April 8. Aminur Rasul Babul, member secretary of Safe Waterway Implementation Movement, said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself is sincere in the development of inland shipping communication. The government is also giving adequate allocation in this sector. But due to the irregularities and corruption of BIWTA's dredging department, the desired success in rescuing the defunct waterways has not come even after 14 years. Mihir Biswas, joint secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), said that BIWTA's responsibility is to maintain the navigability of waterways through regular dredging under its revenue fund. “The river dredging, including rescue of lost waterways and the expensive works of silt removal, are under its development fund. The organisation has been doing these two tasks for more than a century. For this, thousands of crores of public funds have been spent, but the expected success is not visible,” Mihir Biswas commented, also blaming irregularities, corruption and lack of accountability and transparency as responsible for this. Read More: River Police taking measures to ensure safety on waterways during Eid
The restoration work of old Buriganga channel near Kamrangirchar has not seen any significant progress in the last eight months. The Dhaka South City Corporation began the project in June, 2022 but the initial works are yet to be completed. The project includes demarcation activities, eviction drives, re-excavation and waste disposal. The old channel, which has lost its glory to pollution and encroachment, is located in the middle of Shahidnagar-Hazari bagh embankment (from the main Buriganga River) of Old Dhaka and Kamrangirchar. Various structures were built occupying the two sides of the area of about 7 kilometers.However, to give the old Buriganga back its glory, the DSCC took an initiative to reclaim the channel from encroachers in June last year. Almost a year has elapsed but the authorities are still working on the initial phase. Also read: Re-excavation of Buriganga old channel to start in February, says Taposh Talking to UNB, some DSCC officials said they are committed to recover the channel from illegal occupiers. The DSCC authorities have taken a project to restore the old channel of the Buriganga, also known as the capital’s lifeline, in three phases, costing almost Tk 22 crore, they said. They said the recovery of the channel will free Dhaka’s Hazaribagh, Lalbagh, Dhanmondi, and Kamrangirchar from waterlogging. The seven-kilometer-long channel will also make it easier for Dhaka residents to commute from Buriganga to the Turag River and the transportation of goods will be easy due to the reduction in cost. Read More: Sand lifting poses threats of river erosion in Faridpur According to the DSCC, walkways and separate cycle lanes will be built on both sides of the channel. During an election rally at Kamrangirchar on December 24, 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged to take steps to recover the old Buriganga channel from encroachers. She also instructed the mayor to take necessary measures to make it happen. After detailed planning, the DSCC took the project to free the channel from encroachers.According to the plan, a 14-km walkway and a cycle lane will be constructed on both sides of the channel. Bridges will be built to attract tourists in addition to the residents of the capital. As part of the first phase, which is already underway, the authorities are working to clear the channel of silt, debris, and garbage from the sluice gate at the end of the old Buriganga to Islambag. The excavation cost of 1200 meters has been estimated at Tk 6.41. Read More: 250 illegal structures evicted from Bakkhali River in Cox’s Bazar General Secretary of the Poribesh Bachao Andolan, Engineer Abdus Sobhan said,“The commitment (to restore the channel) is not enough. The old Buriganga channel should be excavated according to Cadastral Survey (CS) records.” He also called on the authorities to stop the supply of electricity, water, and gas to the factories and houses built by occupying and filling the old channel and take effective steps to stop encroachment and pollution. “We demand the establishment of permanent pillars by demarcating the boundaries of the old channel of Buriganga according to CS records,” he told UNB.Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said the old Buriganga channel recovery project is ongoing despite the various obstacles posed by the encroachers. “There were many obstacles. Many cases have also been filed. Many case are pending with the High Court and are currently going ahead with the project.” He also said the authorities are committed to recovering the old Buriganga channel as per the project. Read More: Power generation at Kaptai plant drops severely as rivers dry Terming the restoration process expensive and difficult, the DSCC mayor said, “The old Buriganga channel has been narrowed down by encroachers and polluters from all sides over the past 50 years, and this is the first time we have undertaken any project to recover the old Buriganga. “And we have already been able to increase its width almost ten times, and our activities are ongoing,” he added. He said the plan to introduce modern facilities such as walkways, cycle lanes and bridge will attract tourists. “We are working to create a healthy and aesthetic environment here so that tourists can come and enjoy their time here,” Taposh said. According to the DSCC, the initial phase of the project was started with its own financing. The authorities have also hired consultants to support the project. Read More: Political parties must have river, water issues in manifestos: IFC Md Md. Rasel Sabrin, DSCC chief estate officer, told UNB that buildings and institutions that have been illegally constructed occupying the old Buriganga channel have already been identified by DhakaSouth City Corporation, Rajuk, National River Conservation Commission, the Public Works Department, BIWTA, the District Administration, and the Land Record and Survey Department. “The mayor has directed us to demolish the illegal extended part of those buildings identified,” he added.
The Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) recently organised a river cruise for its members and stakeholders on the River Shitalakshya in Narayanganj's Rupganj upazila. The chief patron of the BMCCI and Malaysian High Commissioner Haznah Md Hashim, Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Viet Chien, and Singapore Consul Sheela Pillai joined the cruise. They visited the riverine communities of Zamdani Palli. The members also explored Islamic art and architecture at the historic Murapara Zamindar Bari. Also, live music, games, and a raffle draw kept the participant entertained throughout the journey.
Research-based art exhibition "River Delta" has begun at La Galerie of the Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD). River and Delta Research Center Chairman Mohammad Azaz attended the opening ceremony as the special guest Friday. River Delta is the first phase of an ongoing five-year study on Bangladesh's rivers. The exhibition is curated by Juel A Rob. Artists Apu Raj Bongshi, Mohosin Kabir, Shimul Datta, Najmun Nahar Keya, Promotesh Das Pulak and Mohammad Hasanur Rahman are participating in the exhibition. Since Bangladesh is a riverine country, a large part of its food chain, trade, communication, and livelihood are river centric. Many communities are directly connected to rivers. The ebb and flow of the rivers weave the stories of many communities, including fishermen, river gipsies, washermen, salt cultivators, sailors, and shrimpers. However, after the passage of 51 years, Bangladesh has started to take precautions regarding the proper maintenance of water resources, said the AFD. So, it is very important to create awareness at all levels of society, to have constructive discussions, discharge civic and state responsibilities, and to prepare for the next step by studying different types of case studies, it added. "In that case, it is very important to understand the internal or international political context. Many issues, including complexities within the country, river encroachment; protection of river environment, aquatic life and fauna diversity, international power politics, protection of potable water bodies, ocean and river governance, are involved here," the AFD said.
More than 250 houses have been washed away by the Teesta River in Ulipur upazila of Kurigram in the last three days. Erosion has started along the 2 kilometre-long bank of the Teesta since last a month in West Kalpani Bajra, Kalpani Bajra and Satalskar villages of Bajra Union of the upazila. Due to the sudden intensity of erosion, the Teesta has also devoured 500 bighas of cropland, a community clinic, educational institutions, markets, mosques, temples, Eidgah grounds in the union. Maulvi Refakat Hossain, superintendent of Bajra Paschim Para Dakhil Madrasa, said half of the madrasa has been devoured by Teesta since Wednesday. “The remaining part will also be washed away soon.” The villagers requested the Water Development Board to take immediate preventive measures. Read: Teesta erosion: Over 100 families left homeless in Kurigram, Gaibandha Ulipur Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Bipul Kumar said the union chairman and members were asked to list those affected by the erosion at the earliest. “Assistance will be provided once the list is received.” “We also updated the erosion issues with the Water Development Board. They said that they are not able to do anything due to lack of budget.” Meanwhile, Executive Engineer of Kurigram Water Development Board Abdullah Al Mamun said erosion has suddenly started here due to river management measures at the upstream of the villages. “We have reported the matter to the higher authorities. Action will be taken soon.”
Body of a 16-year-old male who went missing on Sunday falling from a moving train while taking selfies at Akkelpur upazila in Joypurhat. The deceased was Mehedi Hasan, son of Anwar Hossain from Rajmahal area in Panchagarh district, said SM Hasibul Hasan, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Akkelpur upazila. His body was recovered around 8 am by a diving team of Rajshahi Fire Service after 14 hours of remaining missing, said Delwar Hossain, Officer-in-Charge of Santahar railway police station. Also read: Bid to take selfie from moving train leaves teen dead in Chuadanga According to police, Mehedi was traveling with his grandmother by Panchagarh-bound inter-city train Ekota Express on Sunday. At around 6 pm when the train was on Halhalia Bridge, unaware Mehedi while clicking selfie crashed into the bridge structure and fell in the river, said the OC. Locals found his amputated hand, mobile phone, and money bag on the river after the train crossed and informed police. Until 10 pm on Sunday, fire service members and police conducted a drive to rescue him but failed, he said. Also read: Teenager dies of electrocution in Kishoreganj “A case of unnatural death was filed in this regard and the body was handed to family after autopsy,” said OC Delwar Hossain.