The flood situation in Sylhet district improved slightly on Tuesday morning, with most of the rivers except the Kushiyara showing a receding trend. However, flood survivors across the northeastern district continue to suffer from the deluge. While many have taken refuge in makeshift shelters, others are staying in tents on the highway and roads. The Surma river was receding very slowly. As on Monday 6pm, the river was flowing 34 cm above the danger level after its water level dropped 8 cm in 24 hours, according to the district Water Development Board (WDB). Also read: Flood in Bangladesh: Death toll stands at 107 However, the Kushiyara river was still flowing 84 cm above the danger mark at Amalshid point after rising 18 cm in 24 hours. At Sheola point, the river was flowing 20 cm above the danger level at 3pm Monday after rising 12 cm in 24 hours.
LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam on Sunday said the government has taken steps to develop the rivers around Dhaka so more passener boats can operate to ease traffic in the capital city. “The bridges over rivers around Dhaka are not high enough to allow vessel movement. Already the authorities concerned have identified some bridges and directives have been given to demolish those and make the rivers suitable for navigation,” he said. Tajul was speaking at a function marking the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Water Development Board and South City Corporation in the city. Also read: DSCC preparing integrated master plan to turn Dhaka into smart city, Tajul tells JS He said the waterlogging problem in the city has eased this year due to the re-excavation of canals and eviction of illegal occupants Tajul said most of the buildings in the city have no septic tanks. They have been warned, but response has been unsatisfactory, he said. Also read: Decision on legal steps against GCC mayor to be known soon: Tajul He also urged the authorities concerned to take strict action including shutting down the sewerage lines of those owners who refused to follow the government decision.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said "just sharing" of waters of transboundary rivers, and basin-wise river management is essential for the sustainability of rivers. Momen emphasised that sustainable, collaborative and meaningful cooperation are the keys to having healthy rivers and efficient riverine cooperation. He made the remarks while delivering a special address at the inaugural session of the two-day NADI-3 (Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence) Conference that began in Guwahati, Assam Saturday. Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma also spoke at the inaugural session, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Momen said rivers are the lifeline of Bangladesh and have influenced the traditions, culture, music, lifestyle and livelihood of the people.He stressed the need to maintain healthy rivers to facilitate waterway connectivity.The foreign minister said the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade which is one of the earliest instruments signed between Bangladesh and India in 1972 is significantly contributing to bilateral trade between the two countries.He also noted that the agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports for the movement of goods to and from India is another milestone of friendly relations between the countries.Taking the advantage of its unique geographical location in the region, Bangladesh is offering itself as a gateway to landlocked Nepal, Bhutan and the northeastern states of India and promoting regional connectivity and integration, Momen said.During the conference, the dignitaries, including the chief minister of Assam and the envoy of Singapore to India, lauded the action of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government for showing a "zero tolerance" approach towards terrorism and insurgency which "ultimately paved the way in establishing peace and stability in South Asia." Later he met Assam Governor Professor Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhaban and discussed the issues of mutual interest. Both agreed that the Bangladesh-Assam ties is deeply rooted in history and expressed satisfaction with the existing friendly relations. Momen underscored the need to strengthen the age-old bond between the people of Bangladesh and Assam.
Dr. Ainun Nishat has said Bangladesh and India should sit for annual hydrological assessment to resolve the water allocation of the Teesta river. "The basin of River Teesta is confined between India and Bangladesh. It has to be solved by both countries," said Professor Emeritus, and advisor of Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, BRAC University. He also stated that India unilaterally is withdrawing water from the Teesta which is not acceptable ethically and also not acceptable under any international law, even under Indian law. The 1958 law on transboundary water uses or inter state water uses also do not support this sort of diversion of water, said the expert. Dr Nishat was speaking as the chair at the three-day-long virtual 7th International Water Conference 2022 titled "Teesta River Basin: Overcoming the Challenges" The three-day conference organied by ActionAid Bangladesh began on Thursday. Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed said the river is no longer a river and people now can literally walk across it in dry season. "Local people of India also flagging issue that the dams on Teesta imposing threat to the biodiversity and the livelihood of thousands of people including violation of Indigenous rights to land,” said the Professor at Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, in his keynote presentation. The conference will continue till January 22 under the theme ‘Teesta River Basin: Overcoming the Challenges’. Read:Govt takes Tk 85bn-plan to develop both sides of Teesta River: Tipu Munshi The first day of the conference focused on the thematic issue- History, Morphology and Spatiotemporal Changes of Teesta and Surrounding Rivers.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury on Thursday said the deputy commissioners have been asked to strengthen measures for protecting rivers from pollution, encroachment and restoring navigability. “The DCs have an important role in maintaining navigability of rivers and free those from illegal occupation and pollution as the deputy commissioners are the chief the of district committee dealing with river protection,” he said. Read:BIWTA to buy over 42 dredgers to protect rivers: Khalid The state minister came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after the end of the 2nd session on the 3rd day of the DCs Conference at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital. “Rivers are losing navigability due to illegal sand lifting from the riverbed, which creates obstructions on river routes. The DCs have been asked to strongly monitor it,” he said. Besides, the DC’s were asked to strengthen their surveillance to check illegal activities in land ports in the country, said Khalid. Read:Spain to invest in shipbuilding sector: Shipping minister However, the DCs have made some proposals to develop the river ports in Hatiya and Bhola and make those passengers-friendly, he said adding “Already we have taken steps in this regard.” Replying to a question about river accidents, the Minister said, “Many major accidents have occurred on river routes recently and some irregularities are there in this sector but it is not possible to change the sector in a day.”
A 20-year masterplan will be adopted by the government to return life to the rivers surrounding capital Dhaka - by preventing their pollution, ridding them of illegal occupation and long-term beautification.Work is already underway to remove illegal establishments along the rivers and building walkways and through afforestation.Besides, the government plans to generate electricity from river waste and to take steps in closing the sources of river pollution, said sources within the Ministry of Shipping. Read: 60 illegal establishments evicted from Kirtankhola river banksThe masterplan which also aims to increase the navigability of rivers alongside preventing river pollution and encroachment, is currently in the final stages of being drafted.The masterplan has been prepared by reviewing the current situation of the tributaries, rivers and canals of Dhaka and the surrounding districts.According to the draft plan, the status quo will be developed in four steps, through a 1-year crash program, a short term plan of three years, a middle term plan of 5 years and a long term plan of 10 years. Read Experts seek master plan for sustainable river dredging According to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, around 113 acres of illegally occupied land belonging to rivers has already been regained as part of the process.In the first phase, 10,000 boundary pillars, 52-km walkways, 3 eco parks and 19 jetties will be constructed on the banks of the rivers freed by the eviction drive.The project will cost Tk 800 in crore in the initial stage as per the draft, added the sources. Read Government urged to prepare integrated power-energy master plan Emphasis has been given to build eco-parks on the banks of the Buriganga and Turag to attract tourists.
Experts at a webinar on Saturday urged the government to prepare a master plan for ensuring sustainable river and canal dredging and their management in a bid to accelerate further economic advancement of the riverine country. They also said the number of rivers in Bangladesh is declining due to siltation and fall in streamflow affecting waterways that are the cheapest means of transportation. Under the circumstances, the experts called upon the government to make an adequate allocation for river dreading and proper river training. Also read: Capital dredging project: First phase set to miss deadline Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) arranged the webinar titled ‘Sustainable River Dredging: Challenges and Way Forward'. Water expert and Brac University Professor Emeritus Ainun Nishat presented the keynote paper at the programme while State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury joined it as the chief guest. Dr Nishat said there are two types of dredging like maintenance dredging and capital dredging. “A master plan should be prepared for river and canal dredging in Bangladesh.” He said dredging should be done in a sustainable manner so that the economy can be benefited as rivers not only carry water but also carry lives. “For an efficient river management, special emphasis must be put on maintenance dredging.” Stating that the private sector can play a major role in dredging operation, the water expert said also underscored the importance of investments in dredging and de-siltation works. “Private dredging operators must be trained on sustainability issues. PPP can be a useful model for river dredging, sand extraction, land recovery, land accretion and land reclamation.” Also read: Kaladumur River dying; immediate dredging needed Dr Nishat said the current practice of dredging operations, both capital and maintenance, need to be evaluated urgently. “Rules and guidelines for sand dredging from river beds should be updated and followed strictly.” He suggested establishing a river training institute to create skilled manpower for river management. Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) Executive Director Abu Saleh Khan said the total river basin system should be analysed in an efficient manner. “Dredgers are now ultramodern and highly efficient but they need proper training for skill development and capacity building.” He also focused on sustainable dredging and long-term strategic planning in the maritime sector. “For sustainable dredging, dredgers have to have the idea on soil condition, river system, stream nature and ecological system. There should have been a post-dredging evaluation system in the policy.” State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the government has been working sincerely to ensure effective river management as per its delta plan. “We’ve a plan to make 10,000 km inland river ways navigable.” He said the capacity of Mongla Port has now increased manifolds, easing the pressure on Chittagong port. “We’ve limitations and challenges but we must have to manage our rivers through efficient dredging as these’re our natural assets.” The junior minister said the government has been working on sustainable river dredging both in the form of capital dredging and maintenance dredging and 35 more dredgers will be procured soon.” As per the delta plan, he said, the government is firmly committed to developing the riverine system in the country. “We invited the private sector to come forward with more investments, even in the PPP format, to materialize the delta plan.” DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said waterways play a diverse role in the economy of Bangladesh as it is a riverine country. “It’s a high time to improve the waterways for the sake of both industrial and socioeconomic development of the country as Bangladesh is poised to become a developing country by 2026. The 24,000 km of waterways come down to 6,000 km in monsoon and 3,600 km during the lean period due to dynamic characteristics of the rivers and its effect falls into the economic and ecological state of the country,” he observed. He said navigable waterways have manifold positive cascading effects on the economy as it saves container movement time and ensures comparatively cheaper goods transportation system. “Navigable and well-managed waterways help ease cross-border trade growth with the neighbouring states. But lack of maintenance, weakening upstream flow and human interventions are some of the common problems for declining navigable waterways.”
Praising the High Court verdict that recognised rivers as living entities, speakers at a conference here on Saturday said people should come forward to protect the rights of rivers.
Most rivers in Khulna Division are facing a serious navigability problem, hampering the movement of boats and vessels as repeated requests for dredging fell on deaf ears.